International circus stars perform in online version of NECCA's Alumni Show

BRATTLEBORO — Watch innovative circus artists from across the globe grace the cyber stage in the New England Center for Circus Arts' (NECCA) Virtual Alumni Showcase on Nov. 12.

NECCA is the premiere circus school in the United States with the longest running professional training program in the country. The Virtual Alumni Showcase is the second annual fundraising show featuring graduates of NECCA's programming.

From the comfort of home, audience members can enjoy captivating circus acts on hoop, trapeze, acrobatic dance, and more. The performers will live emcee each other's pre-recorded acts, sharing stories from their journey from NECCA to the world stage.

For acrobatic dance performer Copper Santiago, her journey to the world stage started in Brattleboro.

“I loved being in Brattleboro,” Santiago said in a news release. “Since I was a teenager, it was very formative for me.” She is looking forward to performing in the virtual show to “showcase a bit of diversity (ground, spoken word, people of color)” and sharing more of her story.

“My journey with lyra (aerial hoop) is rooted in NECCA. [...] I'd love to reconnect with my beginnings,” says alumna performer Kristi Alyssa, who attended the professional program in 2011 and will be premiering one of her favorite lyra pieces in the showcase.

Multicorde artist Jessica Perry, who attended ProTrack from 2011–2013, shared her sentiments. “I like to maintain ties with my alma maters, and this seems like a great symbiotic way of supporting NECCA and being seen at the same time.”

The Virtual Alumni Showcase provides an opportunity to reestablish relationships with the community.

Suzon Gheur, who is presenting their act on dance trapeze says, “I live in Europe. With the pandemic and the ecological situation of our world, I don't allow myself to keep the connections I've made in the States. Participating in the showcase [is] a way to reconnect.”

“My training, style, and interest in exploration can all be attributed to my time at NECCA and all of the wonderful tools my coaches gave me,” says Ben Kaufman, who is performing a hand balancing act he created at the beginning of the pandemic. “I wanted to create a video that reflected where I was at the time - emotionally, artistically, and physically.”

Elsa Hall, who graduated from ProTrack in 2013, will perform her straps act that won her a place in the prestigious Cirque de Demain festival in Paris in 2020. Kate Law and Amaya Alvarado, NECCA graduates who later met and began working together in Portland, Oregon, will perform an invented apparatus duo act.

The online format of the Virtual Alumni Showcase allows audiences to connect with performers in meaningful ways, brings artists back to shine a spotlight on their careers and contribute to the continuation of programming at NECCA, and provides new opportunities for art to flourish as communities come together again.

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