Courageous Conversations--Transparency and Safety around Sexual Harassment & Assault in Circus

Circus News

Courageous Conversations About Mental Health in Circus–Transparency and Safety around Sexual Harassment & Assault in Circus–

In this 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 fourth and final episode of Courageous Conversations About Mental Health in Circus, Janelle and guests nisha and Violet unpack sexual harassment and assault within the circus industry. For what can be a loaded and strenuous topic, the three gracefully navigate the topic in a warm and transparent conversation. Listen as the group provides examples of what sexual harassment and assault can look like in a circus setting, unpacks the colonialist roots, challenges how these topics are treated within the industry, and suggests practices for overall cultural change and transformative change when harm has been done.

Moderator
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
Panelists

nisha ahuja (she/they) is a Certified Intimacy Coordinator and Media Consultant, Voice Actor, and Registered Naturotherapy Practitioner, integrating 20+ years of working internationally as an actor, director, physical theatre creator/choreographer/movement-coach, published playwright, and over a decade as a trauma-informed holistic wellness practitioner specializing in Ayurvedic Medicine, Culturally-Rooted Somatics, Energy Healing, mental health, and nervous system support. As a South Asian/Indian self-proclaimed queerdo and traditional medicine nerd, nisha is dedicated to reclaiming ancestral wisdom into our modern lives, dissolving the boundaries between art, social justice, spirituality, ceremony, and holistic wellness as pillars of our collective liberation.

Follow nisha on Instagram @ni.sha.moon and check out their websites: Certified Intimacy Coordinator + Media Consultant, Registered Naturotherapy Practitioner (Ayurveda, Culturally-Rooted Somatics, Energy Work, and Co-Director of Soma Integrative Wellness / Embodied Equity Coach.

Violet Defiant Livingston (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary circus artist, specializing in acrobatic and lyric storytelling. Violet uses her training as a circus artist to bring power, grace, and technique to her artistic practice, and her training as a writer to tell stories with grit and heart. In 2022, she graduated from the 3-year Professional Training Program at the New England Center for Circus Arts, focusing on swinging trapeze, while dabbling in hand balancing and foot juggling. Violet holds a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing Studies with a focus on consent as queer rhetoric and an MA in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy. She has been a college writing professor, a working circus performer, and a trauma-informed circus coach for a decade. She is the author of work on consent, including the internationally distributed zine “Consent Games for Circus” and the article “Excerpts from Terms of Play: Poetics on Consent as Method,” published by the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition. As a queer femme circus artist, Violet is curious about how consent practices can be used to devise circus that honors our true and imagined stories with a circus community invested in making circus art where we all get what we need.

Keep up with Violet on Instagram @violetdefiantcircus and visit her website!

Janelle Peters
Performer, Coach, Licensed Therapist -UNITED STATES
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.
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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.