Etha Struick is a Dutch circus artist, a coach, a prize winning circus choreographer and the founder of Nieuw Circus. She has worked for over 30 years in the circus industry after getting her start with the Osmani Sisters when she was still a teenager. Struick has had the good fortune to live the circus dream, traveling the world and touring with companies like Circus Oz and has seen the blossoming of ‘new circus’ alongside the traditional and she embraces the value of both in her work. Her dream continues, as she has made the transition from artist to coach and director, and is about to add book author to the title when she publishes her first book called Circus, A Practical Guide into the Technique and Approach, which is scheduled to be released in March 2019. We had the pleasure of having a quick talk with Struick about the influences and highlights of her career.
I have a few mentors! Jane Mullet of Circus Oz in Australia. She is the powerful female circus artist that introduced me to the modern circus. Cor van Velthoven discovered and nurtured my early circus talent and the De Osmani Sisters (two famous Dutch acrobats). They selected me for their professional training group and taught me their fine balance acrobatics, introduced me to their dance-like approach and also taught me all about circus as a profession. They taught me all about circus, both the art and the business side of it.
Favorite country to perform in?
Over the years I worked in many countries (14 in total) out of those my favorites are Germany and Switzerland. But it is the audience that makes the show.
Best tour moment?
Circus Senso in London had my partner and I as their very first Dutch hand-to-hand duo. My best moment on tour would be the performance of the Chinese hoop act; which was created in only a week. The eight acrobats jumped through those three hoops with breathtaking rapidity and skill.
And I was one of them !
It’s by performing Chinese hoops that I came to this realization: There is such great power from working in a group! Every artist’s assets lift the act up as a whole and leaves everyone surprised at what they’ve just experienced. This is what all my circus choreography stands for and is based upon ever since : the output of a group’s strength and talent.
The circus youth of today should know this:
- Enjoy every step, every show, and work hard with passion.
- Circus means circle–coming from the Greek word kírkos. This refers to the circle as the connection we make with the audience. To me it’s very important, especially in modern circus, to always draw this circle, imaginary and in a unique way, capturing, captivating and connecting with your audience. This makes each show feel unique and like the first one. There will be more about this in my first book.
- It is very important to treat your own body well during these high physical demands. Enjoy every step in your work and training.
Favorite circus discipline?
Main á main acrobatics (hand-to-hand)
Proudest teaching moment?
Being the first Dutch modern circus choreographer in a theater/circus/dance group (Amsterdam 1989-2010). I selected the group of 20 highly talented artists.
We managed to make shows with and for many young people and we received a prestigious Dutch National award : “the Prins Bernhard Cultuurprijs”. A modern Dutch circustheatre has never before (or after) earned this award. And to play for sold out theatres years in a row was very rewarding.
His name is Bart Hoving,(NL/DE) He is a Dutch juggler,Dutch juggling champion, and entertainer.
Where does creativity come from?
A collaborative environment. Following your heart.Working passionately.
What is next for you?
I will continue to coach and choreograph for a big Swiss event and I will coach more young circus artists to a high performance level, like the four young artists of Mighty Jambo Circus school in Kenya that I am currently working with.