|| AYCOfest 2019 Workshops||


Workshop leader: Gunnar Field

Contortion is all about moving with control through flexibility. In this workshop, we worked on building stronger poise within each pose, creating a solid base of technique to work from. I emphasized that the students should train so that their contortion comes from a place of strength. We then focused that attention on cheststands, elbowstands, and transitions between skills. Contortion takes an amazing amount of focus and control to perform, and often there are mental and physical roadblocks that you must push through to succeed, so we emphasized that in the workshop as well. 

Shadow Puppetry

Workshop leader: Amy Christian

In “Fill the Gaps in Your Story—Shadow Puppetry for Circus,” Amy Christian expertly guided attendees through every aspect of the art of shadow puppetry. We first discussed the purpose of shadow puppetry within a show, learning how shadow puppetry can be used as a visual storytelling medium. She explained how shadow puppetry can be a valuable tool when needing to tell elements of a story involving creatures or situations not easily demonstrated. Amy helped us to understand the concept of creating a shadow puppet by showing real examples of beautifully created shadow puppets that were set to be used in that night’s showcase. She walked each of us through creating our very own functional shadow puppet born from our imagination! Through the use of a projector and a cloth frame to project the shadows, we were able to see our creations come to life in hand-drawn backdrops placed onto the projector. 

(written by Zac Swan)


Workshop leader: Ruby Karen

Taking part in the AYCO Festival was such a privilege, especially having the opportunity to meet so many beautiful and talented artists, fellow colleagues, and supporters of circus arts. My own workshops on silks, sling, and rope gave me insight on where the circus community is from a technical standpoint, while the showcase performances showed me where we want circus to be artistically. We have so much to be grateful for in the role that AYCO plays in shaping circus in America, and as members, we have an obligation to share, communicate, and actively participate in AYCO/EDCON’s activities to keep our artists safe, driven, fresh, educated, and creative. Thank you to AYCO for providing such a platform to unite the many factions of circus!


Workshop leader: Tara Jacob

Static Club Passing brought together club jugglers with a range of experience to have fun working on some specific skills together. A few attendees were working on juggling three clubs consistently, some could juggle and were working on passing, and others could pass already and were willing demonstrators! We went over terminology to review different ways to describe the timing and rhythms when passing clubs (two-count vs every’s, etc) and did some simple drills to practice the throws needed when passing clubs. Those who had a consistent 3-club patterns worked with three clubs, and those who didn’t used just one club to execute the patterns. We learned a simple, popular 4-person passing pattern known as the ‘Box’ ‘Tick-tock’ or ‘Cross’. We also worked on 3-person triangles and 3-person ‘feeds’. Finally, everyone in the room worked on passing patterns in duos, but all at the same time—over 20 clubs in the air at once!

Back to ACE MAG 2019: ISSUE 2, VOL. 15