Big Apple Circus: Back on its Feet, but Fastened to Tradition - CircusTalk

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Big Apple Circus: Back on its Feet, but Fastened to Tradition

A familiar blue tent is cozied amidst the daunting buildings of Lincoln Center. The Big Apple Circus has returned to Damrosch Park for a 41st season!
It was a perfectly crisp fall evening. As I crossed Broadway, I smiled. My annual sojourn to the Big Apple Circus is one of my favorite nights of the year. I felt gratitude to those who have resurrected and excited that a new generation gets to sit under the big top. A mother said to her daughter, “You know how long it’s been since I saw the circus? Years! Since I was little, like you. Now I’m bringing you…your first time to the circus!” My heart melted a bit, and I felt the great importance of this national pastime. Yes! We need traditional circus! In a country where identity and customs are often piecemeal, our national traditions are precious. The tent is bright with promise, but real weight sits upon this season’s show. ...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through, and about circus. She is a Writer for CircusTalk, Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts and American Circus History at Pace University, Editor and Curatorial Director of TELEPHONE: an international arts game, and curator and director of Cirkus Moxie, a weekly contemporary circus show at Brooklyn Art Haus. Madeline has performed, coached, produced, and choreographed at elite regional and international venues. Her background in dance and physical theater is infiltrated into her coaching and creation style. She is passionate about providing her students holistic circus education that includes physical, historical, theoretical resources. Madeline initiated the Aerial Acrobatics program at her alma mater, Muhlenberg College, where she taught from 2012-2017. She is also a regular contributor to Cirkus Syd's Circus Thinkers international reading group. Her circus research has been supported by Pace, NYU, and Concordia University. Recent publications include "Teaching the Mind-Body: Integrating Knowledges through Circus Arts'' (with Alisan Funk, Dan Berkley), a chapter in Art as an Agent for Social Change, "expanding in(finite) between," a multimedia essay in Circus Thinks: Reflections, 2020, and "Digital Dance & TELEPHONE: A Unique Spectator Experience." Madeline has presented academic papers at numerous conferences including Circus and its Others (UC Davis), International Federation for Theatre Research (University of Reykjavík), the Popular Culture Association, Gallatin (NYU), and McGill University. Madeline earned an MA from Gallatin, New York University’s School of Independent Study, where she designed a Circus Studies curriculum with a focus on spectatorship.