Project update – Lo Fi artist residency 2014

So my team and I just spent a week at Smoke Farm in Arlington, WA, where we took part in the inaugural artist residency for the 2014 Lo Fi Arts Festival.   It was a productive and inspiring experience, filled with cross genre arts bonding, communing with nature, and workshopping our piece in it’s intended site.  There were 5 curators who not only helped with our project needs, but cooked delicious, healthy meals for us 3 times/day, which was a complete luxury! It was great sharing communal meals, exchanging ideas, and washing dishes elbow to elbow with individuals so talented in their individual fields.  When not working on our project, we roamed the 300 acres taking in other art pieces and exploring the property.  We also got a few good sunny days jumping in the freezing Stillaguamish river!  Below is a daily recap of our arty adventures:

Pre-residency.  Tanya makes diagrams, pushes fundraiser, sets daily residency goals, sorts through possible act music, researches wind chime equations and musical theory, and picks up poles from Thomas York, aerial rigger and fabricator.  Team meets at SANCA to learn pole moves.

Two cable swivel point system designed by Thomas York. Cables fabricated at West Coast Wire, Rope, and Rigging.
crunching numbers. L0/(x)1/2 = new length of pipe, where x represents the number used to calculate the next note.  More info and chart here.


hole presets at different heights according to respective note


Monday, June 23.  Day one.

Adrienne and Oliver picked up poles, delivered to farm, and rigged with help of our delightful curator, Teggart.  Team arrives at farm and sets up camp.  First artist dinner of the residency.

preliminary test position of poles in tree, pre cutting and tuning


Adi and Oliver strap down poles for safety. Holy duct tape and tie downs!









Tuesday, June 24th.  Day 2.

Tanya arrives to farm to find the team well acclimated and ready to work.  After a communal lunch and cleanup, we head to the poles to workshop choreography.  Our poles not only sway and spin, they pivot at about 3/4 of the way up, which enabled us to work on a whole other axis! I think we may have inadvertently created a new apparatus!  Violet cheers us on from the sidelines.   After choreography and getting sweaty and dirty, we head to the nearby Stillaguamish for a cool dip and some playtime in the river.  Video here.

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Wednesday, June 25.  Day 3.

Tanya heads into town to promote the fundraiser in it’s last hours, since there is (refreshingly) no wi fi or cell reception on the farm.  Team moves poles to barn and rigs them in tonal order so that we can work on tuning.  Learns later in the day that fundraising goal has been met! So overjoyed when I heard this! Thanks to everyone who came through for us!  Team shares meals and mingles with other artists.  Decided it was prom dress night, so we all showed up in our country finest! Of course, Oliver was the first to lose his.  😉



waitin on the lunch bell to ring….




dinnertime! In style….


Thursday, June 26.  Day 4.

Team packs up and heads out to The Gorge to perform at Paradiso.  Tanya finds herself alone in the shop confronted with power tools.  After a few unsuccessful tries at hand drilling metal (and a sprained finger), the work ahead of creating luminaries out of .095 walled steel pipe seems daunting.  With seemingly no where to turn and almost defeated, Joselynn comes trudging across the field to the rescue! Another team graciously lends us a drill press, making life so much easier. Cue 80’s hairbands on the stereo, and we have Girl Metalshop!  Me and Jos drill about 500 holes before heeding the call of the dinner bell.  Thanks Jos!

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Friday, June 27th.  Day 5.

Poles are hung in barn, but the tuning is off.  Pre tuning video here.  Curator Timmy steps up with the cutting and grinding.  Using an electronic tuner, we find out the poles are actually tuned to a G scale and refine those notes.  We find that hitting the chimes with wooden mallets, in the center of the pole, produces the best note.  Shows Timmy how to do handstands and climb a rope.  Barn workout.  Eats 2 dinners.

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Saturday, June 28th.  Day 6.

Tanya is now confident in her drilling/drill press skills.  Decides that the best metalwork can only be done in a leopard print bodysuit and flip flops.  Drills about another few hundred holes at various sizes and sands pipes to remove burrs.  Installs LED flashlights in ends of pipes to test luminosity.  Eats 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 desserts.  Tonight london broil is on the menu, and Sari makes strawberry shortcake with ice cream.  We are very spoiled here!

Here I represent Timmy and Laura’s fashion baby. Curator Arne on the R. Photo by Laura Becker.

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Sunday, June 29.  Day 7.

Pack up and load out.  Make final meals for teams.  Clean up site and kitchen.   I don’t want to go home; this has been such a fantastic week with so many precious experiences and funny moments.  Timmy and I take a trip to Oso to check out the mudslide.  Very emotional and impactful.

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It was bittersweet returning home.  The uniqueness of the residency experience was not lost on us.  We made unique connections, got exposed to other artistic genres, and had inspired conversations that in other settings and circumstances we could not have had.  A giant thank you to Smoke Farm, the curators, and the 2014 team Lo Fi team of artists for being amazing.  See you all back on the farm in September!

xo Tanya


New Project

This summer I am leading a group composed of some of Seattle’s finest aerial artists into the woods at Smoke Farm in Arlington, WA. to perform on an original installation at the annual Lo Fi Arts Festival Sept. 6-7, 2014.  Through an application process, we were selected along with 39 other visual/performing artists from around the Seattle region to participate in this year’s festival.  I have participated in the festival 2008 (with the Aerialistas) and 2013 where lighting artist Yuri Kinoshita and I received a 4 Culture grant to create “Tangyo”, a giant illuminated globe that supports aerial performance.  It is a one of a kind chance to present work within the natural setting specifically for that site, surrounded by a unique arts community and those who appreciate our work.  The illustrious team for my project, “Downriver Hymns”, is composed of:

Adrienne Jack-Sands, Oliver Parkinson, Lara Paxton, Sara Sparrow, Jill Marissa, and Kari J. Hunter.

Our multi-genre installation this year stems from the idea of creating “Human Windchimes”; using an aerial apparatus (suspended dance pole) to not only support performance physical but also musical in nature.  The apparatus will be cut to length as per a specific mathematical formula to create tones on the seven note musical scale.

L0/(1.25)1/2 = 26.8 cm., where 1.25 represents the number used to calculate the next note on a major third scale.  More info and chart here.


We would also like to perform this at night, and have the poles or pole remnants hung nearby and retrofitted to act as luminaries.  This involves us outfitting pipe lengths with special LEDs and drilling holes in the pipe to let the light through, as depicted in this picture:

IMG_0246 night tree

For this project, we are combining aerial, dance, vocal harmonies, instrumentation, and special lighting effects into one seamless performance.  There are many factors at work and in order to bring all these elements together, we will be taking part in the first annual artist’s residency at the farm, June 23-29.  This was created for groups and individuals to workshop their piece onsite so that by September their piece is well informed.  In order to have my materials needed by the workshop, I decided to launch my first ever fundraiser since it is a quicker turnaround than the arts grants application process.  If you have enjoyed my work in the past or those of the artists above, please consider making a donation to this work in progress.

Thank you from Tanya and the team!



Announcing the newest Bombshell…..

This past month I had my debut performance as a full-fledged member and resident aerialist of the prestigious burlesque troupe, The Atomic Bombshells.  It was a pleasure and a joy working with the cast, composed of highly talented seasoned veterans of the stage, led by Lou Henry Hoover and Kitten LaRue.  We played to 6 sold out shows (out of 8) and sparkly delight was had by all.


From Seattle Dances “Standouts of the solo acts included the luscious Tova De Luna, the newest member of the troupe, as a high-flying petit oiseau. Miss De Luna pranced delicately in silver pointe shoes before taking to the air on a metal hoop. Spinning with mesmerizing grace in contortion-like poses, she made disrobing while hanging ten feet above the ground look completely natural.”

Review here.

Please welcome “le petit oiseau” Miss Tova de Luna……

with superfan and photograper Alisha McGraw


With Jamie Von Stratton and Faggedy Randy

CCCF 2014


So we went to the first annual Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival and all survived, that’s to say made it out of the bunker and managed to make a few friends in the process.  Flew into the storm and hit the ground running; our first day there was a 12 hour rehearsal at the beautiful Aloft studios in below zero temps (outside).  Let’s just say Chicagoans have experience heating large buildings well (hear that, Seattle?).  We took busses, trains, bummed rides, and walked a mile in shin deep snow to the studio, endured multiple fluffy layers, and survived on deep dish pizza, fries, bacon, and cheese, not to mention nightly boozy schmoozing.  At the beginning, it took about 10 minutes to suit up and suit down, kinda like preparing for a moonwalk.  Temps hit -15 on the third day we were there, -35 with windchill; you literally could not take your hands out of your gloves to check your phone outside or your fingers would freeze off.  Got to perform in the historic Athenaeum, which apparently is haunted by the ghost of someone that fell off the balcony during a church service.  I’m convinced the ghost messed with our rigging a little each night.  Shows went pretty well although Saturday we killed it.  I’m going to take credit for that one.  I took control of the general nervous, stressed out energy and made everyone dance around to 90’s hip hop in the dressing room the hours preceeding the show to loosen us all up and get us in the zone.  Old pre show ballet routine….


There are some nice reviews here:

and here:

We got to share the stage (and party with) Flip Fabrique, whose show is like ours but on massive steroids, and Ricochet, whose visceral humanity is portrayed in minimal sets and ethereal white.  Duncan Wall and circus now was there hosting workshops and discussions, there were master classes at Aloft, forums at the theater, and on a few days I got to see three totally different shows back to back.  I have never watched circus for 7 hours in a row… much going on all the time!


Getting to train at Aloft studios every day was my favorite part.  Walking in, not knowing who you’ll find but running into people from all over and jamming with them was so refreshing.  Coaches I’ve trained with, fellow performers, facebook friends not yet met in the flesh, students; this was the gathering.


Going into it I wasn’t sure how big of a deal it was going to be, but I am so glad I went.  It was refreshing, inspiring, humanizing, and gave me a perspective on the current state of the modern circus world I wouldn’t have had otherwise.   This week I am doing nothing and processing it all.  Yay for circus community!



Acrobatic Conundrum going to CCCF 2014

Hi friends, if you haven’t heard, The Acrobatic Conundrum’s “The Way Out” was selected as one of three stage shows (out of 77 nationwide applicants) to represent modern circus in America, and specifically Seattle at the first annual Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival this January. We are really excited and honored to have been chosen to participate in this inaugural event, but we need your help to make this giant step. If you are able to financially contribute, your donation is tax deductible through Fractured Atlas, and will help 8 performers, 2 assistants, and one Terry Crane with travel, room and board, rehearsal space and prop shipment. Many thanks and appreciation. xo T

Join our campaign here!

Also, check out our new webpage by Joselynn Engstrom!

The Magic

Ok, so some of you have been asking me lately what it is I am Doing with a big D, which always throws me for a loop because most days I feel I’m just getting by, living on a prayer, floating towards The Great Something that I don’t even know yet.   I have good days and bad days like anyone, but yes, I feel like things are good right now.  They haven’t always been, which makes me thankful for Right Now.   At some point a couple of years ago I had to jump off that big cliff of stability but slow death and launch myself into the great cosmic whatever.  It’s just now starting to gel, which is freakin’ ridiculous.  If you’ve already got this figured out, awesome.   You are probably someone I respect a lot and try to learn from.  Let’s kick it, I wanna pick your brain.  If you don’t, I probably still love you for one of your other beautiful odd traits.


If I can be all smugly for a brief moment, these are some of the conclusions I have come to (mostly by royally effing something up at one point in time), but by no means a conclusive list.  I welcome any other additions to this list provided they reflect your highest good (all ego based or negative responses will be deleted).  Yeah I realize I might wake up tomorrow and be like, “oh man that was so cheesy”, but I feel like some of you want and need to hear this right now and I can help, (and the fact that I hate writing blog posts and totally feel like doing it right in this very moment) so here goes before I get distracted by organizing my sock drawer, or  watching RuPaul (which I will do directly following this-go Jinkx!).


How To Succeed in Life Working For Yourself Being a Decent Human Being Without Really Trying*

  • Be passionate about what you do – it’s contagious.
  • Be competent about what you do – always look for opportunities to learn and be inspired more, which leads to….
  • Be hungry – don’t rest on your laurels, continue to grow and expand, think outside the box, continue to perfect and clarify your craft; push boundaries.
  • Be generous – what you give will come back to you, without expecting a return.  You are where you are because at some point somebody was generous with you.  Which leads to…
  • Own your situation- you are where you are because of the choices you’ve made and the lessons you still need to learn.  Don’t be a victim.  Accept and move on.  Chalk it up to learning and get on with life.  Don’t stew.  Forgive.
  • Be positive – be pleasant to work with, bring something to the table, contribute, bring the vibe up, not down.  Be fun.  We all have off days.  If you can’t be positive, stay home and work it out with yourself or simply just listen and absorb what others have to give, but don’t be the bad apple that brings everyone down.  If you need help, seek it.
  • Be professional – answer emails, calls, texts, etc. in a timely manner.  This is being respectful of another’s time. In turn, they will respect your time.  Know how to be a team player.   Realize the larger goal rather than your own immediate desires.  Fake it ‘til you make it.  Know how to compartmentalize.  Being on the job is no time to work out your personal issues.
  • Curate your people – surround yourself with a good network and truly care about them.  Don’t let negativity into your circle.  Set boundaries so that you don’t get poisoned.  When you experience negativity, realize it’s them, not you.  Let it roll off or remove yourself from a situation.
  • Diversify – it makes you valuable, flexible, and more interesting.  Great for warding off boredom and those pesky ruts!
  • Be bold – put yourself out there.  Take risks even if they scare you.  Especially if they scare you.
  • Be communicative – ask for what you need.  You just might get it.  Give constructive feedback; everyone appreciates that.
  • Be selfish – check in from time to time; take care of yourself so that you can be more balanced for your own well being as well as for others in your life.  If you are worn out, it’s hard to really contribute.
  • Be genuine – only say what you mean and mean what you say.  Pretending to like something will not lead you to your path or your people, and hey, people can tell.
  • Be respectful of those who went before you.  You are one piece in a chain.  Learn from them.
  • You win some, you lose some.  That’s the jam.
  • Be humble, be thankful – opinions are like you know what, we’ve all got one.  Appreciating others does not detract from You.  Everything can change in an instant.  Life is fragile.  You are blessed.


*Ok, you might have to try a little 🙂

so we went and made a video

Submission for the Macklemore video contest for “Bombom”.  Directed by Terry Crane and Elizabeth Rose.  With art direction by Joselynn T. Engstrom and Katheryn Reed.  Video by Derek Broussard.  Edited by Terry Crane.  Starring some of my awesome circus family.

check it out and cross your fingers and toes for us!

So this happened…..




A crowd of about 12,000 attended USC Production’s Lucky 2013 at WaMu Theater over the weekend of March 15, the likes of whom I had the pleasure of performing for on this stage with Super Geek League.  Along with the l.e.d. unicorns, stilt dancers, gogos, and leprechans, me and the spiral got to fly over this audience alongside an aerial rocketship.  This is a picture of the actual crowd that held strong from about 8pm-3:30am while djs from around the world spun beats into the wee hours.  This was a pivotal night to me on different levels.  It was quite the pleasure working with all the djs and riggers, as well as my first experience with SGL who managed the entertainment.   I can definitely say that my circus family has just expanded to include some pretty awesome people.  It takes a family to pull this stuff off!



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