International stars to perform at NECCA’s 12th annual Circus Spectacular

BRATTLEBORO — New England Center for Circus Arts' (NECCA) 12th Annual Circus Spectacular on Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6, will feature professional performers from around the world donating their talents to raise money for NECCA's scholarships, outreach, and programming.

This is a unique opportunity to see some of today's most acclaimed high-flying aerialists, acrobats, and jugglers, say event organizers. Both performances will occur in person on the Latchis Theatre stage, or via livestream for the March 5 show only, if you prefer to watch from the comfort of your own home.

Audience and volunteers are required to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination or negative test, and the audience is currently set at half capacity for distancing.

“For the show on March 5, we are using a full film crew from Brattleboro Community Television who are experienced at livestreaming,” NECCA cofounder and Circus Spectacular producer Serenity Smith Forchion said in a news release.

She added that she is “excited about the opportunities this new livestream platform offers. They are working with four cameras that will provide an excellent and intimate experience for the viewer in a way that we have never had before.”

This will allow audience members outside Brattleboro the opportunity to enjoy a live circus show online.

“Our audiences have had few opportunities to enliven daily life with a night at the circus, witnessing the magic of human endeavor. The livestream format and online watch parties allow us to connect in new ways,” says Forchion.

Through the Circus Spectacular, the artists are also able to reconnect with their performing careers, after the pandemic closed theaters and canceled gigs.

Brattleboro-based rope performer Rachel Rees says, “What I'm most looking forward to about the Circus Spectacular is simply performing for a live audience again. Since the pandemic, I've had some fun outdoor and virtual gigs, but nothing quite compares to playing to a live audience on stage under theater lights!”

Rees will be performing a revamped rope act infused with new research and stronger technique developed at NECCA.

Countless NECCA students have gone on to have professional performing careers in traditional tent circuses, cruise ships, and contemporary circus companies.

Other NECCA alumni include diabolo performer Liam Gundlach, who attended Youth Troupe and toured with Circus Smirkus; contortionist Ariana Ferber-Carter, who was one of NECCA's very first students and later attended their ProTrack Program before embarking on a world traveling career; and Caroline Wright, who attended classes at NECCA when she was a pre-teen and later performed with Cirque du Soleil, performing a duo lyra act.

ProTrack graduate, Elsa Hall, will be performing her aerial straps act that she presented at the prestigious 41st Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain.

New-England-based performers include Rachel Barringer on duo lyra, Alexis Hedrick spinning on Cyr wheel, a stunning aerial sling act by Mandy Hackman, and chair balancer Morgan Oldham.

Ripley Burns, performing antipodism (foot juggling), and ringmaster Troy Wunderle are both Vermonters with connections to Circus Smirkus.

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