A Candid Interview with Circus Legend Jeanette Williams - CircusTalk

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A Candid Interview with Circus Legend Jeanette Williams

In mid-September, at the 2019 Circus Fans Association of America convention in Springfield, MA, I had the immense honor to sit and talk with circus legend Jeanette Williams. Daughter of Harry Williams and Carola Althoff, Williams hails from a dynasty of German circus owners and performers. Her contributions to the world-wide circus scene are abundant. After a hugely successful career as an animal purchaser, trainer and presenter, Williams is now the president of Entertainment & Circus Agency, LLC, a company that produces shows and books performers all over the world. At a spry 77, she is witty and bright-eyed. She carries herself with an air of forthrightness and glamour but is approachable and casual from the start. It was a warm evening in Springfield, and the convention attendees were enjoying a refreshing buffet dinner on the top floor of the hotel. Williams and I stole away from the cluster of round tables and chatted for over an hour. 
She spoke with a cadence which indicated that she had told her story many times. Her sentences were factual, clipped — the headlines of her life. And indeed, how else could she possibly cover the enormity and depth of her outstanding career in one interview? Her wide bright eyes sometimes drifted, thinking into the past, but most often held mine, unabashedly, while she recounted the particulars of joys and hardships.  ...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through and about circus. She is an Associate Editor for CircusTalk, Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts at Pace University, a member of the American Circus Alliance's EDI committee, and the Editor and Curatorial Director of TELEPHONE, an international arts game. Madeline has performed, coached, produced, and choreographed at elite regional and international venues. Her background in dance and physical theater are 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 Thinkers: Reflections, 2020, and "Digital Dance & TELEPHONE: A Unique Spectator Experience." Madeline has presented academic papers at numerous conferences including Circus and it’s Others (UC Davis), 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. madelinehoak.com