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Aerialist from the New England Center for Circus Arts professional training program.

BRATTLEBORO >> The New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) Professional Training Program is a selective and highly-regarded program with graduates going on to work with Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros, 7 Fingers of the Hand, Cirque Eloize and Circa as well as European Cabarets, cruise ships and celebrity tours throughout the world. The 2016 graduates will share their accomplishments in two completely different productions. I SHELTER is directed by Aimee Hancock (Cirque Eloize) and INTERCHANGE directed by Aidan O'Shea (Broadway's Pippin), May 14 through 22,

In each production, half the program graduates are on stage and half work behind the scenes as riggers and technical crew in an all-encompassing training for the students who come from around the world.

AnneLaure Rouge is one such international, completing her second year at NECCA. Hailing from Switzerland Rouge came to NECCA because of it high level technical training as well as the theatrics of performance - "I appreciate the way the coaches teach us how to prepare, protect, respect and take care of our bodies" Rouge said recently during a final training session. "We develop our inside awareness of every single muscle and how we connect them together." Rouge brings her musical side to her performance, playing the flute while twisting and dancing through the air on an aerial silks. It is NECCA's mission to train 'to the heart', which means that recreational students seeking fun and fitness are welcome alongside high level athletic artists pushing their limits as they seek a career in circus arts.


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Contemporary Circus is a new way of approaching circus, blending theater and dance and music alongside daring physical feats. In I SHELTER, Hancock describes the show as being about 'the mind sometimes being at war with itself - desires versus responsibilities - battling for satisfaction. But where does the body stand in this?"

O'Shea describes INTERCHANGE as being a discussion: "Girls are girls, & boys are boys, right? Current spotlights in politics, pop culture, & religion have begun to illuminate a very human passion for a more elastic reality we can all share about defining who we are and how we are allowed to connect with each other; emotionally, physically, & spiritually."

Both shows feature aerialists and acrobats, funny and poignant performances from students who are embarking on their international careers. See them in Brattleboro first!

All performances are held at the theater space that NECCA has created inside the Austine Gymnasium in Brattleboro. Shows run Saturday, May 14 through Sunday, May 22 with alternating productions. Tickets and schedule are available online at www.necenterforcircusarts.org. For information, call 802-254-9780.