Still Drinking from the Cup while Passing it Along – Aging in Aerial Arts
Sun. 8/1. Noon – 1:30 PM MDT – $10
Panelists: Jayne Bernasconi, Lindsey Butcher, Susan Murphy, Nancy Smith
We’ll discuss physical / mental / heart-centered changes that occur as we age, the longevity of creative practice and everything that brings, and especially passing knowledge along. Also, how do we get the most of training as we age – rhythm, frequency, intensity and what tools we can gather to ensure we stay in optimum condition while understanding the impact of menopause on women and aging in general.
Implicit Bias of BIPOCs in Entertainment – Open to all
Monday 8/2. Noon – 1:30 PM MDT – $10
Panelists: Veronica Blair, Midnite Townsend, Parker Haines, Noeli Acoba
This panel will examine how historical and systemic racism impacts BIPOC representation in entertainment and why it matters. What is implicit bias, and how does it relate to microaggressions? Panelists will also share personal stories of navigating the arts with BIPOC bodies and discuss tools for self-care and resilience. Audience members will be tasked to explore their own implicit biases.
Tues. 8/3. 7:00-8:30 PM MDT – $10
Panelists: Suzi Winson, Jo Kreiter, Jennifer Miller, Keith Hennessy
This panel will discuss artistic activism in aerial/circus performances. Our experts will share their work, perspectives, and consider what aerial/circus uniquely offers to the work of art as activism. How to effectively engage with an audience beyond sensationalism towards an effective action? How might we inform and inspire younger generations or students within arts institutions about social responsibility?
Intersectional LGBTQ topics in Aerial Dance & Circus
Thurs. 8/5. 7:00-8:30 PM MDT- $10
Panelists: Glenna Broderick (they/them/theirs), Ana M Cruz (she/her/hers) , Kiona Daelyn (she/her/hers they/them/theirs). Moderator: Annie Piatt (she/her/hers)
Join this intersectional group of panelists from around the US for a conversation as they share about their unique journeys in aerial dance and circus, specifically diving deep into topics that impact LGBTQIA+ members in our circus communities. We will address considerations for teachers wanting to ensure their classrooms are more inclusive, discuss what it is to be queer professionals and performers in this art form, and touch on the combination of advocacy and art from various LGBTQ identities.
When Flyers Nest: Aerial and Motherhood
Fri. 8/6. 10-11:30 AM MDT – $10
Panelists: Amanda Hayes Fugate, Lauren Kehl, Dawn Pascoe, April Skelton
From the moment you see your obstetrician’s face when you tell them what you do for exercise, there are many misconceptions and challenges to face for the aerialist-mother. We will discuss safety in pregnancy and recovery in postpartum, community support, and the impact of motherhood on creativity, workload, body image, life balance, mental health, and identity.
ADF 2021 panelists:
Noeli Acoba is a circus performer, Youtuber, and a founding member of the American Circus Alliance. She was the Apprentice Mentorship Program Student (2017) at Kinetic Theory Circus School in Los Angeles. She performed internationally in festivals and at premier venues such as la TOHU. Noeli has collaborated in researching new, inventive apparatuses with companies like Cirque du Soleil and Acrobatic Conundrum. Her YouTube channel is all about circus! Her favorite and most meaningful series she created so far is the UPRISE Docuseries. This series highlights BIPOC circus artists who share their experiences and opinions about circus (in regards to racism) and what they hope to change within the circus industry. Website: https://www.noeliacoba.com/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/noeliacoba Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/noeli.acoba/ TikTok: @noeli.acoba
Jayne Bernasconi (dancer/choreographer/author/yogini) has been a leader in the field of dance and yoga over 40 years. Her award-winning choreography has been seen throughout the United States and abroad. She trained and danced with several leading NYC post-modern choreographers including Alwin Nikolais, David Gordon, Stephen Petronio, Pooh Kaye, Steve Paxton and Bill T. Jones. She was the founder and artistic director of Forces of Ability, a movement project including people of all abilities founded in Vermont in 1992 with Steve Paxton and Boulder, Colorado (1995-1999). She reconstructed “Sorcerer” choreographed by Alwin Nikolais and performed it for “The Art of the Solo” in 2007 and at the Historic Aerial Dance performance at ADF in 2008. Ms. Bernasconi is the founder and artistic director of Air Dance Bernasconi, an aerial dance company based in Baltimore, Maryland since 2000. From 1995-1999 she danced with Frequent Flyers Productions based in Boulder, CO where she worked with aerial pioneers Nancy Smith, Terry Sendgraff and Robert Davidson. She has also taught and participated in the internationally acclaimed Aerial Dance Festival over the years since its inception in 1999. She co-authored the book/DVD “Aerial Dance” with Nancy Smith, foreword by Murray Louis. Ms. Bernasconi has been on dance faculty at Towson University since 2000 teaching all levels of modern dance, composition, aerial dance and yoga. Currently, she is the owner of Yoga On York, (www.yogaonyork.net) where she teaches both aerial and traditional yoga.
Veronica Blair is a professional aerialist with over 15 years of performing and teaching experience. She is currently Aerial Director for Celebrity Cruises Entertainment. Expanding her portfolio beyond performing, Veronica launched the development of “The Uncle Junior Project” in 2010. The ongoing documentary shines a light on the careers of African-American circus performers, including Emanual “Uncle Junior” Ruffin who remained largely uncredited for his contributions to American Circus until after his death. In 2017, she was invited to speak at the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival about her experience as producer and director of “The Uncle Junior Project”, and served as organizer and moderator on a panel highlighting the African-American circus experience. She’s also worked with the African-American Art and Culture Complex to stage “Entrapment to Entertainment: A Celebration of Blacks in American Circus”, a three-month exhibition that ran from October, 2013 – January 2014 with over 1,000 attendees.
Glenna Broderick (they/them) thinks a lot about how performance moves the soul and fulfills the emotional needs of both audience and performer. Craving athleticism and humor in performative movement, Glenna went to circus school at NECCA in 2009 knowing very little about what they were getting into. The world now has an accidental clown and purposeful aerialist who’s just trying to make art, dangit. Glenna loves trapeze, rope and partner acro the most, but delights in being a circus generalist. They love teaching because it’s a time for the growth of both student and teacher. Glenna has lived, taught and performed in New Orleans and Philadelphia and spent summers at Circus Smirkus, directing the camp’s Road Show program. Since 2020, Glenna has lived in Chicago, making street shows and laughing a lot with La Vuelta Ensemble.
As a dance and aerial practitioner Lindsey Butcher has over 36 years of professional practise and remains very active as a performer, choreographer, teacher, mentor and Artistic Director. Since graduating from London Contemporary in 1984 she has worked with numerous dance, theatre, circus and opera companies including; Extemporary Dance Theatre, Ra-Ra Zoo, Gandini Juggling Project, Walker Dance/Park Music, Scarabeus, Darshan Singh Bhuller, Momentary Fusion, Fidget Feet, Upswing, Vincent Dance Theatre & Siobhan Davies Company. In 2003, Lindsey founded Gravity & Levity aerial dance company after winning the Jerwood Award for Circus to provide a vehicle for her artistic vision. Under Lindsey’s direction, G&L have created 3 full length touring aerial dance productions, 2 outdoor pieces and created numerous site-specific commissions. Alongside the companies live work, Lindsey is equally passionate about providing Creative Professional Development opportunities for people at all levels of their aerial dance practice organizing Aerial Teacher Training courses with Nimble Arts and teaching within UK Higher Education conservatoires, together with running and presenting at Aerial symposia both nationally and Internationally. Inspired by the Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance Festival, G&L also founded and have run the annual European Aerial Dance Festival in August since 2010 and instigated the Paralympic Aerial Legacy Intensives as a follow on training for artists from the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Much of Lindsey’s aerial choreographic work over the last 20 + years has been with aerial dance companies alongside ‘building based’, vertical dance commissions, a discipline in which she also teaches master classes in the UK and Internationally; France, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Portugal, Canada, Panama and most recently Brazil.
Ana Cruz is a multifaceted performer in the Boulder area. Ana specializes in hula hoops, Fire dancing, stilt walking, belly dancing, burlesque, and is training in aerial arts. She moved to Colorado from the east coast in 2013 to live a more open and fulfilled life with her partner. Ana has been attending pride events since she was 18 years old, marching in her very first pride parade in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. Ana is an active member of the front range LGBTQ community and has performed at Longmont, Boulder, and Denver Pride. She was recently featured on the cover of Outfront magazine in 2019.
Kiona Daelyn began moving in Tucson, AZ where she performed with Funhouse Movement Theatre and O-T-O Dance as a dancer and aerialist. She began practicing yoga at age 12, and became a certified yoga instructor in 2009 after attending the teacher training at 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, AZ. Kiona holds a B.F.A in Dance Education from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Since moving to San Diego in late 2011, Kiona has performed with several choreographers and dance companies including Malashock Dance Company, Aerial Revolution Entertainment, and various independent choreographers. Kiona is a founding company dancer and aerialist with Astraeus Aerial Dance Theatre, where she also serves as sound editor. She also performs dance and aerial arts as a freelance artist. She teaches dance, yoga, and aerial classes to children and adults in various studios and often travels to teach workshops and perform. Kiona spends her free time volunteering for environmental and social justice organizations. She currently lives in beautiful San Diego with her wife, newborn baby, and three cats.
Amanda Hayes Fugate is a Pelvic Physical Therapist in Asheville, N.C., and an all around pelvic health enthusiast. Do you have that friend who is really comfortable talking about pregnancy, pain, bodily functions, sex, pregnancy, exercise, the pelvic floor? Well, Amanda is that friend. After over a decade of working as a pelvic physical therapist, Amanda opened her own pelvic health practice, Pelvic Forward Physical Therapy. Amanda teaches for the Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehab Institute and provides professional mentoring for not only pelvic PTs but fitness professionals, medical professionals, Crossfit gyms and more. Find Amanda on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at @PelvicForward.
Parker Haines (Switch the Boi Wonder) brings over 20 years of experience in the Drag and Burlesque communities combined. Their passion lies in helping to create spaces for underrepresented voices to shine. They use their art to tell the story of their own journey to authenticity and to hold the doors open for others to tell theirs as well. Parker received their certification in DEI through eCornell as a way to bring language to their lived experience to continue to use their platform to facilitate change on and off the stage.
Keith Hennessy, MFA, PhD, is a dancer, writer, choreographer, activist, witch, and teacher. Raised in Canada, he has lived in Yelamu/San Francisco since 1982, he tours internationally. Hennessy’s work is interdisciplinary and experimental, motivated by anti-racist, queer-feminist, and decolonial movements. He engages practices of improvisation, ritual, collaboration, play, and protest to respond to political crises and intense feelings. With a focus on the poetics and politics of relationship, Keith’s recent collaborators include Ishmael Houston-Jones, Snowflake Calvert (Yaqui, Mayan), Brontez Purnell, Nathaniel Moore, Peaches, Meg Stuart, jose e abad, J Jha, Annie Danger, Ryanaustin Dennis, and Gerald Casel. Awards include Guggenheim, USArtist, NY Bessie, Sui Generis, and a few Bay Area Isadora Duncan Awards. Hennessy directs Circo Zero (since 2001) and was a member of the French contemporary circus collaborative Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard (1998-2002) and Sara Shelton Mann’s Contraband (1985-1994.) Recent gigs include SNDO (Amsterdam), VAC Foundation (Moscow), Impulstanz (Vienna), L’Artère (Québec), Love In (Toronto), FRESH (SF), Earthdance, Ponderosa (Germany), CounterPulse (SF), and Hollins University. Keith has an MFA, Choreography and PhD, Performance Studies, from UC Davis.www.circozero.org https://vimeo.com/user1076713
Lauren Kehl is an aerial coach, Pilates instructor, and personal trainer based in Seattle, WA, who has been coaching for over 10 years. Starting her aerial journey as a recreational adult at age 28, Lauren has a particular gift for working with adult beginners and students who struggle, and strives to teach in a way that is accessible and inclusive. Lauren attended the Intensive year at NECCA in 2011 before deciding to pursue coaching full time. Since then, she has helped to expand and develop the curriculum at Versatile Arts, her home studio, and is one half of the teacher training team there. She has led workshops at AYCOfest, the American Circus Educators conference, and NECCA’s workshop weekend. You can learn more about Lauren at laurenkehl.com.
Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco based choreographer and site artist with a background in political science. She makes large scale public art via apparatus-based dance. She engages physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. Kreiter’s tools include community collaboration, a masterful use of place, an intersectional feminist lens and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity. Her work democratizes public space. Jo has spent 25 years building coalitions with women marginalized by race, class, gender and workplace inequities. Noted partners include Essie Justice Group, UC Hastings, Prison Renaissance, Museum of the African Diaspora, Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center, and Tradeswomen, Inc. her work has been supported by Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellowships, New England Foundation for the Arts, the and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently creating The Decarceration Trilogy: Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex One Dance at a Time.
Jennifer Miller is a NYC based artist working across performance platforms. She is a director, a writer, a performer, a dancer and a producer. She spent her early years as a dancer researching improvisational strategies, working with Screws Loose, They Wont Shut Up and a myriad of informal collaborations of the kind that marked “below 14th street”in the mid 80’s early 90’s. She acted in many of Sarah Schulman’s and Robin Epsteins early plays. She worked the club scene performing dance/theater pieces at the Limbo Lounge, 8bc, the Pyramid Club, and spent the summers outdoors with various circus’s and outdoor theater projects – Make-a-Circus in San Francisco and the Protean theater in Hartford among other projects. All of these influences came together in the creation of Circus Amok. Circus Amok is a one ring, no animal, political, queer circus theater extravaganza that tours the parks of New York City. All outdoor Circus Amok shows are free. Circus Amok speaks to publics and counter public. It’s a form that engages many theatrical languages at once, employing tropes of old school popular theater such as juggling and stilting alongside post-modern dance, high camp and drag. Miller wrote and acted in the plays Cracked Ice and The Golden Racket, which were produced at La Mama and Performance Space 122. She maintains ongoing collaborative relationships with several dance makers and performance artists including Cathy Weis, Jennifer Monson, and Vaginal Davis. She spent seven seasons working at Coney Island Sideshow by the Seashore. She is a Professor of Performance at Pratt Institute and the Coordinator of Pratt’s Performance + Performance Studies MFA program.
Susan Murphy holds a Master’s degree in modern dance from Mills College in Oakland, CA (1978) and is a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban Institute for Movement Studies in New York City (1987). She taught modern dance and aerial dance at the University of GA from 1999-2002 where she was Guest Artist in the Dance Department (1999-2001). She has performed at Cowell Theater in San Francisco, CA (1993) Lincoln Center in New York City (1988) the Skirball Center of the Performing Arts in New York City (2015), Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, CO (2015 and 2018) and the New England Center of Circus Arts (2015 and 2019). In 2002, Susan and her husband Don Carson, envisioned and built Canopy Studio, a community Aerial Arts Center in Athens, GA. Murphy served as Executive Director of Canopy Studio until she moved to the Georgia coast in 2009, where she and Carson built The Marsh Studio, a state-of-the-art Aerial Dance and Performance Center which presented 18 performances of music, aerial dance and theater over the past 7 years until the pandemic brought everything to a halt. In June, 2019, touring Athens, Asheville and Marsh Studio, Murphy performed in “The Subject Tonight is…Love”, an aerial dance, modern dance and theater piece with 3 other professional performers. She recently received the Governor of Georgia’s Individual Award in the Arts and Humanities for 2021.
Dawn Pascoe is a multi award winning aerial-circus-theatre maker. With degrees in theatre, circus and contemporary pilates, Dawn’s approach to work is sustainable, heart felt and spectacular. She’s produced 10 full length works in a 16 year career, and has performed at most outdoor festivals through Western Australia. Her first self devised work won the Best Solo Show at Wellington Fringe in 2006, and has since won 6 awards including Best WA Circus Show at Fringe World (twice) and The People’s Choice Award at Toronto Buskerfest, which is one of the largest street art festivals in the world. She has choreographed spectacular crane shows, and produced numerous international and local tours alike. Her proudest tour included performing aerial shows in outback locations like dry river beds and cattle yards, with a completely self contained set up – and two young families in tow, for 5 weeks. Dawn is inspired to make work which is honest, creative and inspires hope. She feels that is her responsibility to all the younger ones. But especially to her daughter. More info: www.naturalwings.com.au.
Annie Piatt discovered the magic of aerial dance while attending low-flying trapeze class at Frequent Flyers more than a decade ago. Growing up in SoCal, she dabbled in gymnastics, danced on pointe, competed as a swing dancer, and held a pole-vaulting record. Annie obtained her Master’s degree in Higher Education from Harvard University, where she briefly studied under Liz Lerman and Peter Pucci. She went on to become a member of FFP’s professional company and teaching faculty, before moving to New Orleans. While there, she danced as a busker and featured performer with the band, Bon Bon Vivant, and made her burlesque debut as Porcelain Poppy. She has also lived in Los Angeles where she briefly trained at Cirque School LA. Since returning to Colorado in 2016 Annie has performed with Iluminar Aerial, In the Wings, Rainbow Militia, the Fractal Society, and is delighted to be back home teaching and performing with Frequent Flyers. In several of her previous day jobs she has worked as a trainer and consultant on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
April Skelton is a mother of two and an aerialist and movement instructor of 17 years. She got her start under the mentorship of Susan Murphy (Canopy Studio, the Marsh Studio) with whom she continues to collaborate, and has taught and performed at schools and festivals around the U.S. She runs the Facebook community, Aerial Mamas and Postpartum/Pregnant Parents Safety & Support, and is passionate about helping others find the healthy intersection of parenthood and aerial arts. She is a physical therapist assistant by training, a Pilates instructor, and a postpartum corrective exercise specialist. This is her third appearance at ADF and she’s thrilled to be facilitating this discussion for the community. You can learn more about April at aprilskelton.com.
Nancy Smith originally wanted to be an astronaut or racecar driver; instead she became the founder & artistic director of Frequent Flyers® Productions in 1988 and the Aerial Dance Festival in 1999. She teaches a variety of topics for FFs Professional Training students and teaches dance trapeze, invented apparatus and Skinner Releasing Technique around the country. Choreographing more than 350 aerial dances / evening length-works, her choreography for Frequent Flyers, in collaboration with the dancers, has been acclaimed at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Cirque du Soleil in Montreal, Boston, Virginia, New Orleans, Utah, San Francisco, the Bahamas, and throughout Colorado. Nancy has taught 4,000 students the joy of dancing in the air. She has received numerous honors including the Living Legend of Dance in Colorado award and Women Who Light the Community. She co-authored the first book on Aerial Dance and dreams of a prehensile tail.
Midnite Townsend (she/her) is an international burlesque and aerial entertainer and educator. Midnite joined Frequent Flyers in 2005, started teaching group fitness in 2012, and won Queen of Burlesque in 2014. This fall she will begin her masters in somatic counseling and dance therapy. Dance and movement provides Midnite important means for expression, exploration and healing. She advocates for BIPOC and adoptees and has presented for the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network and Korean Adoptees of Chicago. You can move with Midnite on her youtube channel – youtube.com/c/movewithmidnite
Suzi Winson is the Director/Co-founder of Circus Warehouse, the premier professional training center for circus arts in New York City. The physical space is currently in repose. The Warehouse trained a diverse group of practitioners for international circus, dance, theatre and film. Suzi has been a professional ballet dancer, a Broadway performer, street clown, trapeze flyer, editor, publisher, political writer, educator, business leader, and arts champion. She is a founding member of the American Circus Alliance, director of fine arts at Art and Circuses Gallery, and creator of Aerial Text Experiments including annual performances interweaving language and aerial arts in conjunction with the viral, global phenomenon, “100 Thousand Poets for Change”. In keeping with current disaster management, she hosts the daily Zoom favorite: Ballet for the End of the World/ Renaissance.