Circus Sessions 2018 Makes a Bold Move, Proving that Circus is for Everybody - CircusTalk

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Circus Sessions 2018 Makes a Bold Move, Proving that Circus is for Everybody

This year’s Circus Sessions, was a bold experiment in accessibility. Produced by Femmes du Feu, where Holly Treddenick is artistic director, at Harbourfront Centre, and led by artist mentor Marie-Andreé Robitaille, this year’s showing covered innovative territory and pushed forward the state of accessible circus showings in Canada.
Circus Sessions is a five-day creative laboratory for circus artists in Canada and beyond to explore, collaborate and experiment, led by a different artist mentor every year. This process culminates in a two-day public showing of experimentation and collaboration. For Circus Sessions, diversity is a key aspect of the mandate, which is an area where contemporary circus often fails. While it is notable that the cast was not entirely white (which frequently occurs in North American contemporary circus) in a city as diverse as Toronto, one might expect to see a broader representation of circus artists of colour. Furthermore, there were multiple members of the cast who identify as chronically ill or disabled, which is rare in a field where high performing circus artists are typically non-disabled.For this year’s fourth season of Circus Sessions, a decision was made to incorporate audio description and other accessibility features for the first time. ...
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Shay Erlich

Shay Erlich is a hard of hearing, multiply disabled, and genderqueer child and youth care practitioner, wheelchair dancer, and circus artist. Shay holds a MA degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University and their recent thesis project explored how social circus can be understood as child and youth care practice. Shay’s performing experience includes performing theatre and prose pieces at various Toronto venues. Shay is currently looking to find intersections between wheelchair dance and partner acrobatics and is excited about the future of this new art form. Shay is presently in the process of founding The Cyborg Circus Show - a circus company that focuses on cultivating disabled and non-traditional circus artists and producing circus performance that celebrates the limitless world of disabled circus performers.