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:
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…..so 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!