People of Color in Contemporary Circus

Circus News

The Ripple Effect of Continued Conversation: People of Color in Contemporary Circus

There is power in gathering. Storytelling, sharing ideas and laughter are tangible things. Currently, we are lucky to have virtual means to connect, yet there is no substitute for people sharing space and intention. While it remains uncertain when we will meet in groups again, I’m honored to reflect on a meaningful gathering that took place on November 6, 2019. The event, People of Color in Contemporary Circus, was a Long Table discussion hosted by Gibney Dance, a prominent dance institution in New York City. Core participants were Kiebpoli “Black*Acrobat”  Calnek, burlesque performer Denae “Ravenessa” Hannah,  Paris the Hip Hop Juggler, and Susan Voyticky, Artistic Director of Loki Circus Theater. 
This is the third and final article of a series that is meant to continue the conversation. As Monique Martin, the event’s host and Director of Programming at Harlem Stage, said as we settled into the room, “There is no end, but there will be a conclusion.”  Earlier in the evening, we talked about the black body in public space, ...
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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.