Programming Contemporary Circus Preserves the Ludique in Life - CircusTalk

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Programming Contemporary Circus Preserves the Ludique in Life

Ruth Juliet Wikler is a name to know. Earlier this month, she was officially announced the Deputy Director of Programming, Circus Arts, for the Tohu theater in Montréal. Prior to this appointment, Wikler had been consulting for the venue with a focus on July’s MICC circus market. Wikler is an alumna of Circomedia and founder of Cirque Boom (New York City, 2002). Her career as a creator segued to the founding of the production company Boom Arts in Portland, Oregon. Her history with circus and passion for international arts programming makes her position at Tohu an exciting next step. I had the pleasure of speaking with Wikler just a few days before the official announcement. What stood out to me was her ability to eloquently describe what sits at the core of circus, the reason we love it and why circus is important to humanity.
Madeline Hoak: What do you love about contemporary circus? New Deputy Director of Programing at Tohu, Ruth Wikler Ruth Juliet Wikler: Contemporary circus has the thing that first inspired me, which is this ability to be totally rigorous. It’s this rigorous discipline that’s not faking. It’s real…You put yourself at risk, and it’s very serious in this way. And it’s the most silly discipline. It has the most room for silliness, and real surreality.  There is a word in French which doesn’t translate into English. The word is “lud...
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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.