Courageous Conversations--Healthy Relationships with Substances--Addiction in Circus

Circus News

Courageous Conversations About Mental Health in Circus–Healthy Relationships with Substances–Addressing Addiction in Circus–PRO Exclusive

In this new video series moderated by Janelle Peters, a Licensed Social Worker, they will discuss the importance of addressing mental health and setting up sustainable practices for well-being in the performing arts industry. With a variety of topics and guests from professional roles in circus, sports and performing arts around the world, the series explores the unique strengths and challenges experienced by circus professionals when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. We will explore the personal, professional, and structural elements that impact us, and continue the important conversations about how we care for ourselves and our communities. If you are a creative or work with them, this series will be a valuable tool and conversation starter for your team and colleagues in the industry.

In this courageous conversation, Janelle speaks with David Resnick and Waverly Jones, both having personal and professional experiences with addiction all within the context of circus. The three discuss what addiction looks like, how much of an issue addiction is for circus professionals, what about working in circus increases risk, or increases protection from addiction, and how someone who may be struggling with addiction can get support.

CW: There will be themes of child abuse and neglect and there will be a mention of a circus performer dying on stage. Please take breaks as you need to keep yourself safe and comfortable.

Photograph of Janelle Peters, founder of Cirque Psych and host of this series
Janelle Peters (she/they) – LSW, Circus Artist, Founder of Cirque Psych, USA

David Resnick, born and raised in the US, dedicated 15 years to competitive gymnastics and 14 years to professional performance. He spent a decade with Cirque Du Soleil traveling the world with Totem and Corteo, performing in front of millions in over 40 countries. Now, David is focusing on a career of laying roots in a more settled life – one that allows him to enjoy the many simple things that eluded him before. David is 33 years young with the world in front of him, living a “settled” life comprised of daily training, meditation, and martial arts. Additionally, coaching, speaking, teaching and reading. David lives a sober life and is highly active in recovery and mentoring other men on their own paths of recovery. David has found challenging mentorship in this regard, and has found purpose in sharing his story of strength, hoping it helps another. David aims to be of service, aspire to inspire until he expires, and live by his motto: “never ever give up on you.”

As a versatile aerialist, Waverly Jones specializes in several apparatuses including Aerial Tissu, Aerial Hoop, Duo Aerial Arts, Spanish web, Corde Lisse, and Dance Pole Arts. Waverly began performing professionally in January of 2011 when she became a company member of Asheville Aerial Arts. She has since performed at countless festivals, galas, fund raisers, carnivals, corporate events, weddings, concerts, and private parties. In July of 2015 Waverly and dear friend Heather Poole opened Asheville’s first and only certified aerial and movement arts studio: Empyrean Arts. Waverly holds a Master Trainer Instructor Certification in Pole Dance and Fitness from Dakota Fox’s Aradia Fitness USA, and in the spring of 2017 she collaborated with Dakota Fox and Heather Poole to create Aerial Silks and Aerial Hoop teacher training programs for Aradia Fitness. More than anything, Waverly deeply enjoys connecting and growing with others through the performance and instruction of aerial arts.

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Janelle Peters

Janelle Peters (she/they) is a contortionist, aerialist, circus coach, and licensed therapist who specializes in working with dancers, athletes, artists and performers. Janelle creates materials online at @cirque_psych to help facilitate conversations about mental health, wellbeing, and systemic change in the circus world.