Brattleboro to Latvia: Circus artist to compete

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Photo Gallery | Trapeze artist struts her stuff

BRATTLEBORO — Circus artist Chloe Walier might be seen backstage nestling champagne bottles inside a camouflage onesie.

She nearly always wears a red dress underneath with sparkling high heels as she walks over the bottles, placing them one by one below her.

"It's my favorite thing to do," she said during an interview at the New England Center for the Circus Arts, where she teaches. "I've had a couple bottles break as I was on them. But it's only happened a couple times. And I was spinning both times."

Walier is heading to Latvia to perform her fixed trapeze act in a competition and if the ground is hard enough, she'll be able to show off her bottle walking skills. She said she has never been that far east.

"I'm almost going to Russia. It's going to be so cold," Walier laughed. "I'm super excited and open to whatever happens. I'm ready for the adventure."

The Golden Karl Festival, also known as Riga Circus, is one of the oldest circuses in Europe. Artists from around the world will join in on the 125-year-old tradition from Jan. 23 to 26.

Like others who will be competing, Walier submitted an application and was accepted. This marks the third year in a row an artist from Brattleboro was invited.

Last year, NECCA teacher Thom Wall won the people's choice award there. In addition to several awards being available at the festival, there are opportunities for meeting producers.

Walier hopes to score a contract for a touring show in Europe.

"That's really what I want to get into," she said.

Besides bringing her trapeze act around the United States, Walier last performed the tricks at the Periplo International Circus Festival in Guadalajara, Mexico. This time, she plans on adding two more flips and two new twists under the trapeze bar.

Walier grew up in Langdon, N.H., never expecting to get into the circus arts. But after taking one aerial fiber class at NECCA, she was hooked.

"I was like, 'I should probably stick with this for the rest of my life. I should probably not go back to college,'" she said.

After signing up for classes involving handstands, tumbling, trapeze, straps and German Wheel acrobats, Walier did not return to college. She said circus arts changes lives.

"For me, it's having such a focus and being super in control of my body and learning the ways it works and the ways it can work," she said. "Working at something a little bit here and a little bit there, you become a little less afraid or you become a little stronger or a little more flexible. Then one day, you're doing things you never expected to be able to do in your entire life."

Through NECCA, Walier also teaches circus arts at the Windham Regional Career Center.

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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