In Chicago, eight circus students just completed their second year of the pro training program at Aloft Circus Arts, a circus school that is housed in a refurbished church in the cities’ hip Logan Square neighborhood. Although their final presentation was a culmination of two years of hard work in a program that featured many coaches who helped them hone their skills and develop their solo acts, for the last two months their focus was on putting together a show with visiting creative director Emma Serjeant. She was the latest in a series of guest coaches to come to town and work with the students. The work involved moving beyond rehearsing the student’s own carefully crafted solo acts, to building an ensemble, working on group numbers and constructing the set for their show, aptly namedFlock. Serjeant is part of the new ilk of contemporary circus artist turned director (and in her case, choreographer, producer and consultant as well)whose work regularly takes them around the world. Hailing originally from Australia, she defines her company ESP as a “ A production house that extends the definition of circus by creating hybrid performances. Performances in the ESP repertoire draw on different styles and training methods such as dance, martial arts, physical theatre training and circus, both traditional and contemporary.”
Photo courtesy of Emma Serjeant Both family members and circus lovers would soon come to see what two years of training had taught the pro training program students and Serjeant was certain that they would be surprised at the show. “Flock is a piece of work unique to these individual artists and unlike anything else c...
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