Circus Voices, a podcast brought to you by CircusTalk, is pleased to present a new series called Circus in Process with Casus Circus. We will follow the progress of Casus,a Brisbane-based contemporary circus company, as they create their new show Amataga, from concept to creation, from production to touring. What does it take to make a world-class show that has an impact? How will the cast members, all BIPOC, incorporate their research from their individual cultures and interpret their theme of rites of passage through circus? How will Casus adapt and rethink their plans as they attempt to develop and launch a tour during a worldwide pandemic?
In episode two, we check in with co-founder Natano Fa’anana and visit the cast during a rehearsal as they nervously prepare for their first showing during a socially-distanced lockdown in Australia, with some members present and some attending the showing remotely. Cast members Mayu Muto, Johnathon Brown, Ella Ganzaaa and Kamron Wahanui McKinnon describe the joys and challenges of exploring their heritage through rites of passage in a pandemic setting!
Cast members for Amataga
Natano’s unique style of the performance draws inspiration from his Samoan roots, fused with acrobatics, aerials and dance. He has achieved international recognition through his work with the award-winning Polytoxic Theatre Company, as Co-creator and Performer in Briefs Factory, and in his current role as Co-founder, Creative Director of Casus Circus.
Mayu is a circus and physical theatre performer with a strong background in Ballet and Contemporary Dance. She specializes in creating conceptual circus/physical theatre work using unconventional aerial apparatuses, and she is particularly passionate about creating work that derives from ideas and concepts. As a culturally diverse artist, she often investigates and creates work that is relevant to her cultural identity as a Japanese woman. She loves collaborating with artists from across various art forms and actively attends theatre workshops and improvisation workshops for a broader understanding in creative process and in performing.
Johnathon Brown or Johnny, is a proud Anawin man from Armidale, NSW in the New England region. He first started dancing when he was three years old with his family in his home town. Johnny earned his Diploma in Dance 2016 at NAISDA, (The National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association Dance College) where he majored in jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, Indigenous contemporary, and cultural dance.
Johnny has a passion to challenge himself no matter how difficult or dangerous it is. This was proven when he joined Casus Circus having only graduated from NAISDA several months earlier. Having no conventional circus training Johnny quickly learned and excelled in this field borrowing from his formal and cultural dance training and adapting into the contemporary circus genre, in effect creating a style of circus unique to Johnny.
Kamron Wahanui McKinnon
Kamron Wahanui McKinnon is a proud Maori man on a journey to share culture, art and entertainment using circus as a platform to motivate and inspire.
Growing up in Port Macquarie, NSW he has a technical background in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics but also explored parkour and hip hop dance which sparked the light to pursue “something more interesting”, then came circus. Graduating from the National Institute of Circus Arts Australia with a Bachelor in Circus Arts and specializing in Hoop Diving, Tightwire and Group Acrobatics he also immersed himself in Acro Dance combining his acrobatic studies with movement and dance elements.n“All I know is that I want to inspire and motivate people using circus and acrobatics.”
Ella Ganzaaa is a proud trans woman of color. She was the founder and leader of Runway dance crew and the Empire Dance Company in 2011-2014. Ella was also crowned Miss Faafafine in 2015. She loves performing and creating art that inspires others to just be better. Ella’s influences are strongly rooted in her culture and the strong women in her family. Ella is also the founder of Runway Movement based in Brisbane, and Mother of the House of Alexander.