BRATTLEBORO — The New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) Youth Performance Troupe presents their annual end of year show with CircusNext: the Underforest on Sunday, May 14, at 1 p.m., at their Trapezium facility, 10 Town Crier Drive.
With displays of aerials, trampoline, group acrobatics and juggling, the troupe invites audiences to the Underforest, a dark and magical wood where mythological creatures creep out from ancient tales into existence.
NECCA is a premiere circus educational center in the United States and uses circus arts as a tool towards empowering students to learn life skills such as conflict resolution, self-determination, and confidence.
Youth Troupe Founder Serenity Smith Forchion said in a news release that she modeled the troupe off a program created by the Pickle Family Circus, where she performed in the 1990s.
“The Pickle Family Circus brought Chinese Acrobatic Master Lu Yi to develop a troupe of youth acrobats who trained at a high level and made acts for performance out in the community,” Forchion said. “When we opened NECCA in Brattleboro, I wanted to carry on that tradition and the Youth Troupe was one of our first programs. It was our goal to use the tool of circus arts to teach life skills as well as fitness and fun.”
The pandemic was challenging for the troupe, losing many students who came from all over New England but had to stop because of travel bans. This year, the troupe is rebuilding and their CircusNext performance on Mother's Day (Sunday, May 14) will be their first public end-of-year recital in three years.
Forchion passed the leadership baton to long-time assistant Victoria Quine earlier this year, and Quine now oversees the team of youth coaches for whom circus education is their profession.
“Our coaches have been working alongside the students to collaboratively create the show theme, order, and act ideas,” Quine said. “This year even our promotional artwork for the final showcase was created by a trouper.”
Classes at NECCA begin at age 18 months through adult, with options to discover apparatus such as trapeze, wire, juggling, tumbling, trampoline, and aerial silks. Summer classes and camps are open for enrollment as well as other circus shows presented at the school's custom-built trapezium.