When we set out on this little big adventure of “starting a circus” in 2008, we said that if we can make it 5 years, we can make it 10. (Drumroll) Well, ladies aaaand gentlemen… boys and girls, Welcome! to Circus Bella’s 6th Annual Season of Circus in the Parks!
This has been a true labor of love and passion on the part of each company and band member who has ever worked with us since our first little SF premier in Dolores Park. And our growth would not have happened in the same way without the support of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. We are so honored to have been chosen this year to receive a commission to support the creation and production of our 2014 production, Here We Go! It’s hard to believe it is already May! (AAAAHH!!!)
This year, for the first time, we’ve stepped outside ourselves and brought in an outside director. Having directed the show ourselves since the beginning (along with production, fundraising, booking, etc.), there is great luxury and panic that comes with the idea of turning the creation process over to someone new. But, A-HA!, we could not have found a more perfect partner than Bay Area actress, clown, mad-woman, Sara Moore. Sara brings to our ring a vast experience from working with Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey, the beloved Make*A*Circus!, traditional theater, and human cartooning (yes). We see Circus Bella as standing on the shoulders of the Pickle Family Circus and Make*A*Circus! and as Sara is very much a part of the Bay Area Circus Herstory, we are very lucky to have her guiding our process this season.
This year’s company is an continuation of our core company from the past two years with Jamie Coventry, Natasha Kaluza, Demarcello Funes, David Hunt and myself. We’ve enthusiastically brought on board Ross Travis, a very skilled character actor and acrobat who works on the Chinese Pole. Rehearsals have been going strong since the winter —where we have been juggling, jumping, tumbling, and crawling on one another— discovering how we all “fit” together. The technical training gets nudged into the creative realm under Sara’s direction. She has been playing the active observer, noticing the intrinsic nuances of relationships and habits that naturally occur as we all work together. She sometimes stops us in mid-movement and explodes with enthusiasm to seize a reaction, gesture, or sound that simply took place. Through this process, she is extracting our natural physical language that reveals some very interesting relationship dynamics among the company. It’s this language and “story” that will weave together our individual acts in our ring. It’s what we’ve always done in our process but with an outside director, we are discovering a new refinement in the ensemble work that is VERY exciting.
AH – but WAIT!!!! This is circus after all. And we have to put our foot down with all this headiness and draw it back the TRICKS! Bust out the juggling clubs and keep drilling our patterns and keep pushing our skills – tempering ambition for new tricks with safety in all definitions of the word.
While we’ve been in the gym, Rob Reich and the Circus Bella All Star Band have been rehearsing and revisiting charts. Under Rob’ s direction, Ralph Carney, Michael Pinkham, Ian Carey, and Greg Stephens are preparing for their own proverbial backflips with horns, sticks, strings, and… accordion. Once we come together, the music is inseparable. The All Stars provide the train that the audience and acrobats hop on together for our little shared wild ride.
Circus is family – a constant disconnected interdependence. And on Friday, June 27 at 12:00pm in Yerba Buena Gardens, we will begin our month long family reunion that will take place every weekend through the end of July. We reunite with whoever wants to step close and open their eyes and ears and carry away with us. HERE WE GO!