Contemporary Circus Programming Montclair State Defy Expectations Virtuosity

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Contemporary Circus Programming at Montclair State Aims to Defy Expectations of Virtuosity

I remember sitting in a patch of sun after I had finished teaching for the morning. I spoke with Jed Wheeler, Executive Director for Arts and Cultural Programming at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, for just under half an hour before dashing off to my next job. Some minor precautionary measures had started to be put in place that day due to Covid-19. Little did we know how much would change in just a day or two. Montclair was on spring break, and not too much had shifted yet on campus, but Jed and I agreed that the future seemed undefined, open ended. We mutually shook off the temptation to let the feeling of uncertainty monopolize the conversation. 
Jed Wheeler, Executive Director for Arts and Cultural Programming at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey Jed Wheeler: Let’s talk about circus! Madeline Hoak: Yes, let’s talk about circus! How did your relationship with circus begin? JW:  Many, many, years ago — and I’m not exaggerating — it was about 1985, 1986, something like that, I invited what would be described toda...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through, and about circus. She is a Writer for CircusTalk, Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts and American Circus History at Pace University, Editor and Curatorial Director of TELEPHONE: an international arts game, and curator and director of Cirkus Moxie, a weekly contemporary circus show at Brooklyn Art Haus. Madeline has performed, coached, produced, and choreographed at elite regional and international venues. Her background in dance and physical theater is infiltrated into her coaching and creation style. She is passionate about providing her students holistic circus education that includes physical, historical, theoretical resources. Madeline initiated the Aerial Acrobatics program at her alma mater, Muhlenberg College, where she taught from 2012-2017. She is also a regular contributor to Cirkus Syd's Circus Thinkers international reading group. Her circus research has been supported by Pace, NYU, and Concordia University. Recent publications include "Teaching the Mind-Body: Integrating Knowledges through Circus Arts'' (with Alisan Funk, Dan Berkley), a chapter in Art as an Agent for Social Change, "expanding in(finite) between," a multimedia essay in Circus Thinks: Reflections, 2020, and "Digital Dance & TELEPHONE: A Unique Spectator Experience." Madeline has presented academic papers at numerous conferences including Circus and its Others (UC Davis), International Federation for Theatre Research (University of Reykjavík), the Popular Culture Association, Gallatin (NYU), and McGill University. Madeline earned an MA from Gallatin, New York University’s School of Independent Study, where she designed a Circus Studies curriculum with a focus on spectatorship.