To the editor:
Thirteen years ago, New England Center for Circus Arts produced the first Circus Spectacular fundraiser to support program scholarships and outreach in our community. This year, 825 audience members watched in person at The Latchis after an enormous snow dump, and thanks to BCTV we also live streamed to 100 viewers around the world.
Over the last 15 years, NECCA has taught thousands of students, including over 200 professional circus performers and teachers that have spread across the country to metropolitan areas like Boston, to small towns like ours and across the globe. These professionals have gone on to work for Cirque du Soleil, or created their own circus companies like Cirque Us. Coaches who learned how to teach at NECCA have opened up circus training studios across the country. Once such teacher, Acoatzin Torres, opened his studio Monarca in Flight in the D.C. area. He sadly passed away in 2021, but his legacy lives on in our Acoatzin Torres Teacher Training Fund that supports training for circus teachers that serve community members featured in the show.
This year’s Circus Spectacular featured many of NECCA’s coaches, alumni, and students. The show opened with the energetic skills of the Youth Troupe, followed by co-founder and Producing Director Serenity Smith Forchion with a smooth dance trapeze act. She was joined by ProTrack alumni and NECCA coaches Elly Craig and Eliza Gaston. Creators of Big Teeth, Naomi Ullian and Jess Hill, also ProTrack alumni and coaches, did an excerpt from their show in progress, Goodbye Party. Long time coaches, Katie Schmidt and Victoria Quine performed a duo trapeze act highlighting the love of best friends. Local attorney and NECCA board member showed off her years of training at NECCA on silks while singing an operatic aria.
Contributions to NECCA have a long lasting impact on our community and last year, thanks to fundraisers and donations from the community, we awarded $54,000 in student financial aid. NECCA is more than circus, we are health, recreation, mental wellness, community, arts enrichment and economic growth for our town.
Thanks to our sponsors Brattleboro Savings and Loan, Back Roads Granola, Oak Meadow, Berkeley & Veller, Trust Company of Vermont, Brattleboro Tire, Holiday Inn Express, and Bill Sapsis. Thanks also to our hospitality sponsors, The Latchis Theater, Boys and Girls Club, Vermont Country Deli, The Works, Bravo Botanicals, Tavernier Chocolate, Badger Balm, and Side Hill Farm. Thanks also to our media partners, The Brattleboro Reformer, Peak Radio, Minuteman Press and Q Filmworks.
To learn more about our classes, camps, and ways to support our programming, visit CircusSchool.org .
With deep gratitude,
Jenna Struble, executive director
Cynthia Platero, board chair
New England Center for Circus Arts