Goodbye 2020!-An Upside Down Year for Circus - StageLync

Circus News

Goodbye 2020!–An Upside Down Year for Circus

2020–it’s been a year! Whatever role you play in the performing arts world, your work has likely been heavily impacted by the events of this year. We know because we’ve been reporting about it all along, and have had meaningful conversations with our panel participants (all 146 of them!) about how we’re all doing. From mental and physical health, to social issues, to finances and politics–we delved deep into 2020’s challenges in the circus sector. Overall, we spoke to cirus professionals from 25 countries, representing our diverse community. 

An infographic of Circus & Changing Realities 2020 panel statistics; 23 panels, 19 monitors, 146 panelists, 25 countries

As CircusTalk and the circus sector prepares to enter 2021, it is time to look back on the year behind us and to consider what we learned about our industry, our art form and ourselves. How have we adapted? Who have we stayed connected with? Has the circus world grown closer in times of difficulty and struggle? As artists turned inward to find new creative angles of expression, and companies scrambled to keep circus relevant or even partially funded during a year of no shows, we also are looking ahead with hope for the return of live, in-person performances to tents and stages worldwide. But even when the pandemic fades away at last, the circus will be forever altered by the events that caused us to pause in 2020. We take a look back in this video.


Many thanks to our moderators and panelists in 2020!

Aaron Marquise–Founder ofContemporary Circus & Immersive Arts Center (CCIAC), Ecole Nationale de Cirque Graduate, Clown, United States

Abigail Williams-Joseph–Dancer, Pole Artist, Aerialist, CSAW grant recipient, United States

Adolfo Rossamundo-Founder of INCAM (the International Network of Circus Arts Magazines) and Juggling Magazine,Italy

Adrian Berry-Artistic Director and Joint CEO Jackson’s Lane, UK

Adrian Porter (he/him)-Director of Higher EducationNational Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA), London, UK

Agustin Rodriguez Beltrán–Circus Artist, graduate from ENC in Canada, from Mexico

Alexandra Royer-Circus Artist Barcode Circus Company, Canada & France

Alisan Funk–Head of Bachelor of Circus Arts at DOCH,Sweden

Alsenny Sylla–Circus Artist, Guinea, Africa

Amy Chen (she/her/hers)-Independent Circus Arts Teacher and Performer, currently working with Primrose Hill School and,Bindlestiff Family Cirkus After School,New York, USA

Anahareo Dölle-Founder of St. John’s International Circus Fest in Newfoundland, Canada

AndrĂ©ane Leclerc–Artist, Director NadĂšre Arts Vivants, MontrĂ©al, Canada Antonella

Casella–Curator of Circus Arts Hub, Circus Advocate, Producer, Director, Dramaturg and Artist, Melbourne, Australia

Atte Niittykangas–Physiotherapist, Finland

A collage photo of the panelists for Circus & Changing Realities 2020, image 1 shows many bio photos

Aurora Villarreal-Covarrubias, Social circus trainer, Mexico

Betka Ticha–Circus graduate from Codarts in the Netherlands, from the Czech Republic

Bruno Costa-Co-organizer of LEME Contemporary Circus Festival in Ílhavo, Portugal

Busty Beatz–Music Director and Co-creator at Hot BrownHoney,Meanjin/Lands of the Jagera People, Australia

Cecilia Echevarria Morales–Circus artist & graduate from ESACin Belgium

Charlotte Pescayre–Circus Researcher in Mexico

Chris Berry–Journalist and Historian, Circus Historical Society Board Trustee, I Heart media, United States

Courtney Johnson–Former Gymnast, Doctor of Physical Therapy, USA Gymnastics Judge & Lecturer and Brown Girls Do Gymnastics Director of Sports Medicine, USA

Cox Ahlers–Chairwoman, Coordinator ofBundesverband Zeitgenössischer Zirkus e.V.(Federal association of contemporary circus) in Germany

Dan Roberts-Executive director CircEsteem,USA

Deb Wilks-Producer at Cluster Arts, a circus event and project management company in Brisbane, Australia

Delaney Bayles–Juggler, graduate from Circadium Circus School, United States

Delphine Cezard-Circus Artist, Canada 

Diane Goodman (she/they)—Diversity and Social Justice Trainer and Consultant, Nyack NY, USA

Diego SallesCirus Artist, Brazil
A collage photo of the panelists for Circus & Changing Realities 2020, image 2 shows many bio photos Devon Taylor–Creative Producer, Women’s Circus, Australia

Dominque Jando–Founder and Curator of, Former Associate Artistic Director of the – Big Apple Circus, United States/France

Donald Lehn, Director of Escuela de Circo Carampa in Madrid, Spain

Dr. Emily Scherb-the Circus Doc in USA

Dr. Fleur van Rens-Lecturer Sports Psychology, Academic Chair of the Elite Athlete Program, College of Science, Health, Engineering & Education, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

Dr. Jameta Nicole Barlow-PhD, MPH (she/her/hers) — Assistant Professor of Writing, Women’s Leadership and Health Policy and Management, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Jennifer Crane–Cirque Physio in USADr. Kate F. Hays Ph.D.,C.Psych.,CMPC–The Performing Edge,Toronto, Canada

Dr. Kristy Seymour–Director/Head Trainer- Circus Stars,Lecturer- Griffith College, Adjunct Researcher-Griffith University, Australia

Dr. Louis Patrick Leroux–Founding Director of the Montreal Working Group on Circus. Professor at Concordia University and Associate Researcher and teacher at Ecole nationale de cirque, MontrĂ©al, QC, Canada

Dr. Stacey L. Mascia-Susice (she/her/hers)-Professor of English, Humanities Department, North Country Community College

Dr. Stephanie Greenspan–Circus Movement and Injury Research in USA

Dr. Tobie Stein-Sociologist and Professor of Theater Emerita at Brooklyn College, The City University of New York

Emily Loe–Circus Artist and graduate from NICA in Australia

Emmanuel Bochud-Former Manager of Public Affairs and Social Responsibility Cirque du Soleil, CRITAC Ecole National de Cirque, Canada

Eric Bates-Circus Artits, Barcode Circus Company, USA
A collage photo of the panelists for Circus & Changing Realities 2020, image 3 shows many bio photos

Éric Langlois-Executive Director of Ecole nationale de cirque, MontrĂ©al, QC, Canada

Fanny Kerwich–Founder and Creative & Executive Artistic Director of Lone Star Circus Arts Center, Inc., USA/France

Fez Fa’anana–Founder, Creative Director, Artist, Briefs Factory, Australia

Fiona Bradley (they/them)-Circus Artist, Chicago, IL, USA

Gintarė Masteikaitė-Director,New Baltic Dance and New Circus Weekend in Lithuania 

Harley Mann–Circus Artist, Australia

Ingrid Apgar–Circus Artist and graduate from New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study and Circus Warehouse,USA

Isabel Joly–Director at FEDEC in Belgium

Jafet Irizarry- Puerto Rico Educare National Circus Central American Network of social circus, Puerto Rico

Jamie Hodgson (she/her/hers)-Executive Director, New England Center for Circus Arts

Janelle Peters-Circus artist, Therapist LSW, USA Founder of Cirque_Psych on Instagram

Jennifer Miller (she/her/they)-Artistic Director of Circus Amok, USA

Jessica Hentoff-Artistic Director & Founder of Circus Harmony in St; Louis, MI, USA

Joana Dias–Circus Artists, UK

Joanna Haigood–Founder and Artistic Director of Zaccho Dance Theater, San Francisco, California, USA

Joe Pinzon–Artist (aerialist, silks) Writer and Director of Filament, Founder of Short Round Productions,USA

John-Paul Zaccarini (he/him/his)—Circus and Performance Artist, Director and Professor of Performing Arts at Stockholm University of the Arts Stockholm University of the Arts,Stockholm, Sweden

Joi Brown-Artistic Director and Vice President of Programming, Strathmore Hall Foundation,USA

Juanita Cardenas–Artist, Designer,from USA/Colombia

Julia Sanchez-Circus Artist, Mexico  

Juno Nedel–Circus Artist and Founder of Grupo Companhia Fundo Mundo – Brazil, South America

A collage photo of the panelists for Circus & Changing Realities 2020, image 4 shows many bio photos

Kate Kavanaugh-Editor of the Circus Diaries in the United Kingdom

Kevin Venardos-Producer at The Venardos Circus in the USA

Kiebpoli Calnek (they/them/theirs)–Artistic Director, Black*Acrobat in the USA

Krista Bradley–Director of Programs and Resources at APAP in the USA

Kyran Lee Walton— Ecole Nationale de Cirque Student, CSAW grant recipient, Hand to Hand Balancing, USA

Lauren Eisinger–International Development Manager, Circa, Australia

Laurence EstĂšve-CEO & Co-Founder, Zip Zap Circus School, South Africa

Linda Catalano-Producer, Tour manager for Hot Brown Honey in Australia

Lisa Husseini-CEO of iCadenza and entrepreneur/creative coach, USA

Majo Cazares (she/her/hers)—Circus Artist, Production Manager, Coach, Mexico. Graduate from the Superior School of Circus Arts (ESAC) in Belgium and based in Brussels

Malik Cleveland (he/him)-Dancer/Aerialist,Los Angeles, CA, USA

Marcelo Troncoso–circus researcher in Chile Marco Motta–Circus Artist from Brazil & Spain Maria-Noel Rosas–Circus Director and Manager in Uruguay Marysia Walcerz–Circus Artist and graduate from NECCA in the USA

Mateo Castelblanco–Performing Actor in Colombia

Matt Horton–Independent Artist in Sweden

Matthew Jessner-Senior Artistic Director of Operations at Dragone,Brussels, Belgium

Maya Kesselman–Co-founder of Back Pocket, Acrobat,USA

Melvin Diggs-Circus Artist,USA

Michael Day-London Variety Organizer, Equity Circus Network Contact–London, England

Michael Hottier-Back Pocket,Belgium

Mikey Martins-Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive, Freedom Festival, United Kingdom

Mishannock Bruno Ferrero-Circus Artist,Sweden 
A collage photo of the panelists for Circus & Changing Realities 2020, image 5 shows many bio photos

Mohamed Rabah-Executive Director, Palestinian Circus School, Palestine

Monique MartinDirector of Programming at Harlem Stage in the USA

Nathalie Delorme-Communications and Community Engagement OfficerEn Piste,National Circus Arts Alliance, Montréal,Canada

Nicki Miller-Circus artist, Artistic Director of Only Child Aerial Theatre and circus instructor located in New York

Noeleen Fries Neumann- Belfast Community Circus School, Northern Ireland

Noeli Acoba–Circus Artist, Video Editor,from the USA

Osman Khawaja-Executive Director, Phare Ponleau Selpak, Cambodia

Paul Valle–Company Director and Head Rigger, Mexico

Professor Vanessa Toulmin–Chair in Early Film & Popular Entertainment Research Professor and Founder National Fairground & Circus Archive University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Raffaele de Ritis–Historian, Author, Director from Italy

Rhen Molly Miles (she/her)–MSW, CSWA, Pathways Manager at Circus Project and Adjunct Faculty at Portland State University’s School of Social Work, Portland, OR, USA

Rico Jakk-Social Enterprise Re-Educator,Speaker, Coach, founder Dynamix Cic.,United Kingdom

Rodrigo Hernandez–Director ofDokuCirco and circus artist in Mexico

Rodrigo Mallet–Circus Researcher in Brazil

Romina Buscaglia–Circus Artist and Therapist in Chile

Ruby Burgess-Circus Artist, Educator and Writer,Author of Not My Monkey’s Podcast andMonkey See, Monkey Discuss Series on Circus Voices,United Kingdom
A collage photo of the panelists for Circus & Changing Realities 2020, image 6 shows many bio photos

Ruth Wikler-Deputy Director of Programming, Circus Arts at La TOHU, andMontréal ComplÚtement Cirque/MICC,in Montreal, Canada

Sean Lomax (he/him/his)—Whistling Artist,USA

Shana Kennedy-Director of Circadium andPhiladelphia School of Circus Arts,USA

Shenea Stiletto (she/her)–World Acrobatic Champion, USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame Member and World Class Handbalancer, Instructor, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sidney Iking Bateman-Circus Artist, WWE Wrestler, USA

Sopha Nem-Circus Artist, Phare Ponleu Selpak, Cambodia

Sosina Wogayehu (she/her/hers)—CEO of the Ethio Circus Entertainment PLC and Director of the Ethiopian Circus Center, Addis Ababa,Ethiopia

Stephane Segreto-Aguilar Coordinator or Circostrada the European Network of Circus & Street Arts,Paris, France

Steven Santos–Rigger, Fabricator from the United States

Tai-Jung Yu–International Affairs Manager, Resident Dramaturg at Formosa Circus Arts,Taiwan, ASIA

Tara Jacobs (she/her/hers)–Executive Director AYCO/ACE

Tilde Bjorförs–Artistic Director and Founder of Cirkus Cirkör from Sweden

Tim Roberts-Director of École de Cirque de QuĂ©bec located in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Valentina Barone–Editor of Juggling Magazine in Italy

Valentina Solaris Vodanovic–Independent artist in the United Kingdom

Veronika Stefanova-Director of Cirqueon Center for Contemporary Circus, located in Prague, Czech Republic

Vicente Llorca–Publisher of Zirkolika Circus Arts Magazine in Spain

Victor Bobadilla Parra–Circus Researcher in Chile

Victoria Amedume–Artistic Director of the circus company Upswing, located in the United Kingdom

Vincent Messager-Director of Dolce Vita Spectacles touring agency located in Montreal, Canada

Vincent Poliquin-Simms–Director of Quatuor Stomp in Canada

Virginie Maloney (she/her)-Lawyer and Project Coordinator,  L’ApartĂ© Juripop Legal Clinic, MontrĂ©al, Canada

William Forchion–Multi-Disciplinary Artist, Speaker, Educator, Camp Director at Circus Smirkus,USA



Kim Campbell
Writer -USA
Kim Campbell has written about circus for CircusTalk.News, Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of CircusTalk.News, American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.
Em Holt
Burlesque Dancer, Acrobat, Community Manager -UNITED STATES
Em Holt (they/she/he) is a genderfluid mover, burlesque dancer, drag performer and acrobat based in Florida, US. With a background in high level competitive gymnastics, circus arts and multidisciplinary dance, their diverse capabilities allow them to meet a variety of physical requirements and personas on stage.

These days, Em independently travels and tours the US as burlesque and circus bombshell, Karma Carnelian. Karma's performance style seamlessly blends classic and neo burlesque choreography with dynamic acrobatic chair and floor work. Karma has performed coast to coast, from the Hubba Hubba Revue in San Francisco, CA, to the House of Blues in Chicago, IL, to countless productions in their home state.

Em received their BA in Advertising in 2019 and MS in Integrated Marketing in 2021 from Florida State University, where they also performed teeterboard, flying, swinging and double trapeze in The FSU Flying High Circus from 2016-2020. Em first joined CircusTalk first as a journalism intern in 2020, and currently serves as the team's Community Manager, creating written and digital content for the site, and managing the companies' social media channels.

Do you have a story to share? Submit your news story, article or press release.

Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell has written about circus for CircusTalk.News, Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of CircusTalk.News, American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.