Dark comes soon.
We turn on the lights
In the afternoon.
2010 is coming to a close, and so is another year of news and letters. For the Aerial Angels' final promenade into poetry (our theme for 2010 in case you haven't been paying attention), there's November. I found this gem of a verse on a teaching website. I think it's so the little ones won't sit in the dark for too long.
The Aerial Angels spent fall molding young minds (you're welcome, America), and are returning to time-honored traditions close to home for the holiday season. Put on your Santa hat, grab your noise-maker, and celebrate a spectacular 2010 and a promising 2011 with your favorite Angels!
Kalamazoo New Year's Fest
Planning on another New Year's Eve watching specials with too many commercials, eating stale holiday cookies, and reading emo journal entries that date back to the seventh grade? Then let's you and I both shake up 2011 and join the Aerial Angels at the Kalamazoo New Year's Fest! New Year's Fest is a family-friendly event in downtown Kalamazoo featuring music and performing arts, magic, comedy, exhibitions, fireworks, and great food. The party starts at 5:30 and wraps up with fireworks at midnight.
To purchase a button for New Year's Fest, visit any Harding's Stores and Marketplaces or the Kalamazoo Public Library after December 15th.
Not going to be anywhere near Kalamazoo, Michigan at the start of 2011? At least bake a fresh batch of Snickerdoodles, buddy.
Aerial Angels Presents 'Yo Ho Holiday Pirates!'
A Kalamazoo holiday season isn't complete for the little ones without a visit from an Aerial Angel. She may not carry a sack full of presents (the bulk makes the aerial act awkward), but she does deliver grace, skill, and a lot of laughs for the whole family. Catch the Aerial Angels' Yo Ho Holiday Pirates! at the Kalamazoo Public Library Central Library Rotunda on December 29th at 11am. Admission is free.
Children's Programming Librarian Bill Caskey says, "The Aerial Angels have become a holiday tradition at Kalamazoo Public Library over the last five years. This years Yo Ho Holiday Pirates! adventure promises to be more fun than ever when a dastardly crew invades Kalamazoo, ready to board the library and pillage the holidays!"
The Aerial Angels are honored to be a holiday season family tradition for our friends and neighbors, the community of Kalamazoo.
Bandtasia at Forest Hills Central HS
In October, the Aerial Angels performed at the Forest Hills Central High School Bandtasia extravaganza. This Grand Rapids community tradition began ten years ago and today draws crowds of over 1,000 at each performance. The team arrived early to train the Ranger Marching Band Visual Unit, who performed on aerial hoop.
Zay 'Spike' Weaver: What happened?
Student: I fell.
Spike: Really? Why?
Student: I let go.
Spike: And what have we learned?
Student: Don't let go.
Spike: Good. Now do it again.
The Aerial Angels were joined by guest escape-artist, Figo, who "killed in his pink tu tu," according to Spike. "His first time in America and he's on stage in his underwear. Typical Scotsman." After the performance, the Angels showed Figo an old-fashioned Halloween, complete with jack-o-lanterns (see above).
The Angels Go Back to College
What's the big thing to hit college campuses in 2011? Frisbee golf? That's so last year. Beer pong? Been done.
It's the Aerial Angels. The Angels met thousands of co-eds this fall at the National Assocation of Campus Activities Northeast and Mid-America Conferences in Hartford, CT and Grand Rapids, MI. Allison 'Isabella' Williams says, "I enjoyed meeting all the student representatives. As a theatre major myself, I didn't meet many people outside my department when I was in school, so I love hearing from people who are in other areas. In Hartford, we had great talks with future nurses, physical therapists, historians, and merchant marines! Fascinating!"
Do you know a campus that'd like a visit from the Aerial Angels? Contact Chelsea@angelsintheair.com for our college rates and availability.
Circus Freak Holiday Gifts
Can't afford a trapeze? Not sure what size leotard to buy? Look no further for a gift for the circus freak who has everything - new 'Circus Freak' t-shirts available from the Aerial Angels.
The tee is black with blue writing (see above), with a small Starfish Circus URL below the text. Girly cut is $17. Regular cut is $15. Sizes S, M, L.
Visit the Aerial Angels' shop to place your order. And hurry! All orders placed before December 25th receive free shipping.
Six Questions WIth...Micha Adams
Micha Adams is founder, 'ringmaster,' and 'Keeper of the Keys to Adult Recess' at the Detroit Flyhouse. This circus school offers training for children and adults in traditional circus arts including the aerial silks, trapeze, aerial hoop, partner acrobatics, fire performance and more.
1. What do you do?
I make magic. I assist in creating a supportive space, The Detroit Flyhouse, for kids and adults alike to use circus training as a way to grow as human beings, to learn how to take healthy risks and set intelligent boundaries. I am also the head of a circus troupe in Detroit. My 'To Do List' looks like this on any given day:
-Climb forty feet in the air to check rigging points.
-Darn crotch of unitard.
-Answer forty emails.
-Learn and play with new material for Flyhouse Circus School syllabus.
-Darn crotch of unitard.
-Design and prance around in ridiculously amazing fun costumes.
-Darn crotch of ridiculously amazing fun costume.
2. What was your most embarrassing performance moment?
Outside doing hip circles on an aerial hoop. I did about fifteen, then felt a breeze on some of my most private areas. My unitard had been wrapping around the bar over and over again and tore, of course, turning the unitard into 'aerial chaps.' Did I mention I wasn't wearing anything underneath? A friend was waiting for me on the ground with her undies in hand to save the day. My boyfriend, who was filming, never missed a beat: "Can't see it on film baby, got it!"
3. When you're on the road, what do you miss the most?
Alone time with my Chihuahuas, Sid, Delicious, and Nancy Spongecake. And my boyfriend. And my refrigerator, too!
4. How do you feel when you're up in the air?
Powerful, free and childlike.
5. What three words would your friends use to describe you?
I actually polled my friends (I didn't offer any bribes or anything): ambitious, loving, creative. Oh, and "foxy" came up. Who knew?
6. What item of clothing do you wear most often?
Unitard. Always in a unitard.
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around he here;
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!
Here at the Aerial Angels, we think Charles Dickens was kind of a downer. For us, autumn leaves mean a trip to Florida for two Starfish Circuses...learning something new in Raleigh, North Carolina...a beautiful reminder about the place of the modern theater company with a story to tell.
So don't be drear.
The Angels are here!
Who can be sad when those ladies are near?
The Aerial Angels
P.S. Sorry, Charles.
Starfish Circus in Florida
The students of Douglas Anderson High School started the year off right with two weeks of intense training and high-flying fun. Starfish Circus returned to Douglas Anderson this fall after a successful program in 2008. The student-performed shows played to sold out houses - over 1,200 people!
Ashley Turner, junior theater major, co-captained the partner acrobatics act. "I have walked away with new skills and a better, healthier me. Starfish was my first experience with circus. The most memorable part of each day was when all the acts came together to share one word that described how they felt following rehearsal. I remember words like empowered, strong, confident, amazed, and excited."
"I loved working with Ashley," says Starfish coach M.A. Harrison. "She and her partners brought in pictures of moves they wanted to learn and worked for hours breaking down the skills into pieces they could accomplish!"
Starfish Circus returns to Florida in November. The two-week program at Steinbrenner High School in Tampa is open to any students in the area. If you don't attend Steinbrenner and would like to be a part of the fun, email Chelsea@angelsintheair.com for more information.
Aerial Angels Featured in 'Start-Ups and Upstarts' Article
Monica Friedman, of TicketPrinting.com, begins: "The year is 2010 and the face of live theater has changed. Around the globe, money is tight, attention spans are short, and approaching-infinite hours of free entertainment are available 24 hours a day in the privacy of the viewer's home."
Friedman goes on to profile the artists who are politely telling the economy where it can shove its downloadable television. Among the artists insisting on personal connection despite the obstacles? Allison Williams, Artistic Director of the Aerial Angels.
"Audiences do still want to see stories and connect with humans and be a part of an experience they can't have with their TV. They just don't always know they want it and they're unwilling to pay more than their phone bill to find out."
Click here to read the entire article. And click here to read more about the mission of the Aerial Angels.
Aerial Workshops in North Carolina
Already trading the freedom of summer for the routine of fall? Break out! If you're in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, join Zay 'Spike' Weaver, senior company member of the Aerial Angels, for aerial silk and aerial yoga classes at Aradia Fitness in downtown. The classes are ongoing on Tuesday nights. Aerial Silks is a three-week course. Aerial Yoga is a weekly drop-in class. Want a little extra attention? Zay is also available for private lessons.
New Homepage Debuts
Visit angelsintheair.com to see our hotter, pinker, easier-to-use home page! We want to feature your photography, so we've added a "Photo of the Week". We want to see you at our shows, so we've made our upcoming appearances easier to find. We want you to be our Facebook friend, read our blog, and book us quickly and conveniently, so we've made those links easier to access.
In short, everything we do, we do it for you.
If you'd like your photograph of the Aerial Angels to be featured on the home page as "Photo of the Week," email Chelsea@angelsintheair.com with your name, the event, and a JPEG file.
Six Questions with...Chelsea Dygan
Chelsea Dygan has served as Business Manager for the Aerial Angels since 2008 when Artistic Director, Allison Williams, directed a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Rollins College, her alma mater. She received her B.A. in Theater Arts in 2010 and is currently teaching English and having adventures in Daegu, South Korea.
1. What do you do?
I do a little bit of everything. I assist with booking, write PR, and keep everybody in line. I also produce the bimonthly e-newsletter!
2. So are you interviewing yourself?
Yes. Yes, I am.
3. Who is your favorite hero/heroine in literature?
I like people who make me laugh, so I can't get enough of Amelia Bedelia.
4. What was your favorite toy as a child?
A stuffed monkey named Zippy. My cousin ate his ears off so he actually looks a bit creepy. Zippy couldn't fit in the bags to Korea so I miss him very much.
5. What was your most embarrassing performance moment?
In high school, I played Juliet for a crowd of middle school kids. It was time for my big monologue before drinking the poison, and I got a frog in my throat. I started coughing and couldn't get a word out. The middle school kids were laughing and hollering so I started crying, drank the poison, and conked out early. I think everybody was still able to follow along...
6. Do you have a motto to live by?
"A day without laughter is a day wasted." Charlie Chaplin said that. I think Amelia Bedelia would agree.
Shakespeare asked, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" Here at the Aerial Angels, we have trouble comparing most anything to a summer's day. What can compare to skinny-dipping in a Croatian national park? Turning fifty-three Floridians into circus stars? Finding your skin in the silks in London, Ontario?
Shakespeare warned, "Summer's lease hath all too short a date." So enjoy, friends! We will.
-The Aerial Angels
Angels in Europe
Ask Isabella, Mimi, and Anthony about their recent tour of Eastern Europe and you'll hear them talk about a van covered in AstroTurf (see above). You'll also hear about the cobblestone streets. The warm audiences. The talented colleagues. Camaraderie, connection, and early morning swims in the Adriatic sea.
Isabella says, "Here I was sitting on a restaurant patio in Kosovo, listening to our waiter tell us about hiding from snipers while separated from his family for six months, when he was fourteen, ten years ago. We did acro so that he could see some of the show, and he and the other waiters brought us free champagne and dessert. Kosovo is the youngest country in Europe and everyone there is so glad to be alive! There's a tremendous amount of positive energy."
For Anthony, the highlight of the tour was "jumping a fence, hiking through the woods, and illegally skinny dipping in KRKA national park in Shibenik, Croatia!" Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. Pictures not attached.
Starfish in Florida
It's 6am in Michigan. The big rental van is loaded with equipment and coaches. Next stop: sunny Florida. In just five days, the Ocala Civic Theater will be transformed into a kid circus...again!
Colleen "Mango" McIntee, Aerial Angel and experienced Starfish Circus coach, speaks of her experience. "It was so fun to see repeat campers take on leadership roles during the week, already passionate about the program. We were once again delighted with the Ocala Civic Theatre Staff, and their outstanding help throughout the week. Seeing everything come together for the shows was incredibly moving, and the kids (and the coaches...) loved the dance party finale!"
Six Questions with...Erin Clark
Erin Clark met the aerial silks last month. And just like that, they're skin.
The rendezvous occurred at Practice Loft studio in London, Ontario, where Erin also met the Aerial Angels. Working with Heather Hargraves of Practice Loft, the Angels offered a weekend of silk and acro-yoga workshops.
"My body just knows those silks somehow," says Erin. "It feels so possible. It helped that our three teachers were nothing but encouraging and willing to push me to strive for something just somewhat outside my reach. I can't get enough now, and every day I figure out something new I can do, and it's all over me now like a new skin - I want to show off to everybody all the time, this new and amazing thing I can do."
What you don't hear Erin saying is that she climbs out of a wheelchair and onto the silks. When I ask her about her condition, she replies matter-of-factly, "One of my favorite things about those workshops was no one asked because it didn't matter - what could I do? That mattered - I feel like that's a better representation of what it feels like to be me than a medical term no one understands anyway."
1. How do you feel when you're up in the air?
I have always found pleasure in moving my body and feeling its strength, agility, the nuances of it's motions. In the air, that pleasure is exquisitely enhanced. I feel a balancing out between my warring selves - passion and discipline. Sometimes sensual, other times hilariously awkward. I feel fear and weakness and frustration and pain. But mostly, I feel joy. Happiness courses through me like blood. I am lost in the play of it all.
2. What was your favorite toy as a child?
My favorite toy as a child were jungle gyms and the monkey bars. I also enjoyed climbing people. I was intoxicatingly happy to climb all over the Aerial Angels in a totally socially acceptable format.
3. What do you do?
When I am not in the silks I often immersed in my work as a therapist. The mysteries in our struggles to connect to each other and to ourselves compel me. I love people and I love life and both are achingly complex.
4. Do you have a hidden talent?
I think the silks are my hidden talent. Although not very well hidden since I gleefully plaster my practicing all over the internet.
5. What three words would your friends use to describe you?
I took a Facebook poll. There was a consensus on 'fearless,' several variations on the theme of 'unique' and a single but persistent vote for 'sexysilkilicious.'
6. When you're on the road what do you miss most?
I love to travel and I love my stuff. So it's unpredictable. One time I'll miss my pets, another time I'll miss a very particular book or picture I have on a wall or a shirt I didn't bring. Sometimes, I don't miss anything at all.
Upcoming Workshops in North Carolina
The Aerial Angels will be in and around Spike's town of Raleigh, North Carolina the week of August 23rd. If you're interested in learning to move like the Angels and you're close(ish) to the Asheville and Raleigh areas, email Chelsea@angelsintheair.com for details!
|From the beaches of Belize to the stages of Fort McMurray, Canada, the Aerial Angels are embracing our mission: We are personally involved with our audience, and we entertain them regardless of their ability to pay. We can't wait to see you in 2010!|
Stand Up 8 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Stand Up 8, our theatrical circus with groundbreaking use of script, story, and skill, is coming to Fort McMurray, Alberta on February 26th and 27th. With extraordinary ability and edge-of-your-seat stunts, the cast shares not only their tricks but also their trials - the funny, poignant, terrifying and triumphant journeys that brought them to the stage. The Stand Up 8 site is under construction, so keep checking back.
Want to know what audiences are saying about Stand Up 8?
"It was a very good mix of comedy and awesome-ness."
"Everything was absolutely great. It was one of the best shows I've seen in awhile."
"Some of those pieces left me nervous. It was gut-wrenching, you didn't know what was going to happen next."
"I really liked getting to know the people - like, it was really incredible to hear their stories."
"The skating was awesome. There was hardly anything that wasn't awesome."
"I really must say it exceeded my expectations as far as just production and concept..."
"I want to get back to acting class! You inspired me!"
Mimi and Isabella Perform in Mexico and Belize
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. The warm Belizean breeze off the San Pedro Pier. The sound of a chicken plopping to the ground. The anticipatory silence of the crowd while we all wait for it to, er, poop.
Isabella and Mimi did Christmas differently this year. The Angels took the company Toyota all the way down to Mexico and Belize, street performing along the way. Isabella reflects, "Our favorite show in Belize was at Fido's Bar, where ace barman Trevor set us up on the beach to do a show for the weekly Chicken Drop [see above]. The tourists (mostly American and European) watched from the bar, the locals were the other half of the circle on the beach. After the show, the local kids helped us take down the rig and then spent the rest of the night trying acro moves with us and each other!"
Six Questions with...Sam Brown
Sam Brown, Stand Up 8 cast member, hails from just outside of Boston and currently lives in Chicago where he performs with The Midnight Circus and in various theatre productions or anywhere they let him on stage. He started his performing career with Circus Smirkus in 1999 and toured with them for 5 seasons. He graduated from Roger Williams University with a BA in Theatre in 2006. This past year he traveled to Dubai to perform for Opportunity Knocks. He has also done some commercial work including an ad for Coke Zero.
1. What do you do?
That's a loaded question. I'm a clown and actor by profession...hopefully...one day. I work with a company in Chicago, Midnight Circus. I work part-time at the UPS store. I like to cook. And I'm in Stand Up 8. With amazing people.
2. Who is your favorite hero/heroine in literature?
I always liked Huck Finn. He's kind of a trickster at heart. He wanted to run away and he ran away. I respect that. Plus, it's a fun story. But...I'm going to have to say Spider Man! I grew up reading his comic books. He's a funny guy. He was witty while he was fighting criminals.
3. What was your favorite toy as a child?
One was my bubble gun. It was shaped like a machine gun but it shot bubbles. But my brothers and I fought over it so my mom ran over it with the car. My second favorite was Pipe Works. They were plastic pipes you could build things with. My brothers and I built a Pipe Works toboggan that we could ride on.
4. What was your most embarrassing performance moment?
I was doing my street performing act in Boston with my partner, Ryan. We were doing our flat board act. A flat board is exactly what it sounds like: a big board that makes a noise when you hit it. It has to be timed really well, almost like a dance, or the flat board gets dangerous. Near the beginning of our act, I turned over the wrong shoulder and the board hit me in the eye. The whole rest of the show I had a blood shot, winky eye. I had to go talk to people and they were so scared of me. There's nothing less funny than a bleeding clown.
5. Do you have a hidden talent?
I can cook a mean pot of meatballs.
6. When you're on the road, what do you miss the most?
Angels Wins Highest Award for Excellent Customer Service
We couldn't be prouder of Richard "Frank" Oaxaca for winning a DAZZLE award, the highest award granted for Excellent Customer Service aboard the Norwegian Jewel. One cruiser says, "His smile will light up your day, and his genuine zest for life is contagious. (Not to mention those 12 pack abs!)" We applaud you, Richard, for embodying the spirit of the Aerial Angels on the high seas!
Want to hear about the time Spike had to pee in a New York City traffic jam? How about when Isabella almost plummeted to her death as an Angel in a Christmas spectacular? How about the time we were covered in white paint and couldn't take a shower during a Baltimore winter? Catch up on years of Angels history and get to know your favorite performers by visiting our newly-launched blog. We love to read your comments!
|In 2009, Aerial Angels performed across the globe. But with the luxury of travel comes the difficulty of throwing a company holiday party! With Angels wintering in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Winnipeg, Connecticut and onboard a Caribbean cruise (hi Frank!), we can only imagine sitting down together...|
Flip and Frank groan, sore from conditioning for the Stand Up Eight tour. Flip's excited to leave her new California home for the February show in Alberta. "Yay, snow!"
"This will keep us warm!" Flame emerges from the kitchen with a cup of cider, fresh from teaching class at New England Center for Circus Arts and raising chickens at home.
"After freezing with the moose, this weather is great!" laugh Isabella and Spike, who created Fallen at the University of Alaska in March. Sarah Palin didn't make the show, but everyone else in Anchorage did the show sold out its entire run.
A cloud of smoke follows Miss Pussycat out of the kitchen. She's set something on fire. Again. Cover girl of Revue Magazine's August "Hot" issue, Miss Pussycat was also a Grand Rapids' ArtPrize finalist.
"Jamjamah, jamjanah!" toast Frank and Mimi in Turkish. They toured the Balkans with Isabella in June/July, developing the street show in Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech and German. And nothing says fun like driving to Bulgaria with a carload of drunk mimes.
Luna's left hand catches the light. "Tell them, tell them!" cheers Spike, who helped plan Luna's engagement at a surprise show in Waterloo, Ontario in August. Star, who tied the knot this year, laughs, "I've got stacks of magazines they're all yours!" The Canadian tour included return visits to InterPLAY and the Edmonton Fringe Festival, and the Angels raised a record-breaking $3200 benefit hat performing the "Naughty No-No Show" at Waterloo (with great guest artists Flame Oz, Pogo Fred, and the Phantastyks) for over 1500 people in the public square.
Mimi and Frank deliver a post-dinner "Toy Soldier" dance party despite rising levels of tryptophan. Sunshine loved joining them at Maryland: "The RenFair is great, it's like a big family!"
As the Angels stumble off to bed, Trixie announces: "See you all bright and early for yoga!" She's certifying as an Iyengar instructor in Calgary. Chelsea says, "I'll set the alarms!" After conquering her fear of heights in A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Isabella and Todd Espeland at Rollins College in February, Chelsea signed on as our new business manager. "I'm glad I found a way to be a part of Aerial Angels.from the ground!"
Many new voices are part of the company vision for 2010, including former intern Alex, now company graphic designer, and Mango, reuniting with us in February after studying in France.
In a perfect world, we'd pass the mashed potatoes to you - our colleagues, fans, clients and friends who have made 2009 spectacular. Instead, thank you from afar for your support, and from all the Angels, a raised glass and a very happy new year!
See you down the road
Isabella, Spike, Luna, Flame, Mimi, Flip, Star, Frank, Miss Pussycat, Mango, Sunshine, Trixie, Alex and Chelsea.
P.S. The Aerial Angels distribute a bi-monthly e-newsletter with information about our whereabouts, workshops, shows, projects, ticket discounts and free stuff! We won't flood your inbox and subscribing to our email doesn't sign you up for anything else. If you're not already receiving our e-newsletter and would like to be in the loop, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also join our mailing list, follow our performance schedule, and find out more about the Angels' company members and mission by visiting www.angelsintheair.com.