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Circus arts

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Gov. Shumlin and Arts Council Present 2016 Governor's Art Awards

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 2:57 PM

Gov. Shumlin with Excellence in the Arts award winner Eric Aho and family - RACHEL STEARNS
  • Rachel Stearns
  • Gov. Shumlin with Excellence in the Arts award winner Eric Aho and family
On Tuesday evening, November 15, Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Arts Council honored six Vermont artists with the annual Governor's Arts Awards. This year's ceremony took place at the Putney School, in Shumlin's hometown.  Eric Aho, who lives and works in nearby Saxtons River, received the 2016  Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

It's no coincidence that the six award recipients are clustered in southern Vermont. As Kira Bacon, VAC communications and outreach manager, explained, awardees are selected from a pool of nominees through a nomination process that is open to the public.

Trustees review all nominations, consider staff input and then provide the governor with a list of suggestions for the Governor's Award. Once he has selected a recipient, Bacon said, "We see if we can find a cluster [of arts leaders] in the same part of the state" to increase community momentum. Last year, the "cluster" was focused on the Montpelier area; in 2014, it was St. Johnsbury.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seven Questions for Mime Artist Rob Mermin

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Marcel Marceau and Rob Mermin in 1999 - COURTESY OF ROB MERMIN
  • Courtesy of Rob Mermin
  • Marcel Marceau and Rob Mermin in 1999
How do you talk about, much less demonstrate, silence? This Sunday, September 28, Vermont's most famous clown will do just that in "Adventures in Mime and Space With Rob Mermin: The Legacy of Marcel Marceau" at North End Studios. Presented by Theatre Kavanah, Temple Sinai and Ohavi Zedek Synagogue, the presentation is part of Kavanah's ongoing performances dedicated "to staging the Jewish experience."

What's mime got to do with being Jewish? Nothing, particularly. Except that legendary mime artist Marceau (1923-2007), a longtime mentor and friend to Mermin, was active in the French Resistance during World War II, helping to save Jewish children. For that, he was rightly respected as a humanitarian, as well as an unparalleled performance artist.

After growing up in Connecticut with two sisters and a brother, Mermin headed to Europe to study with circuses in England, Sweden and Denmark. In addition to training with mime masters Marceau and Etienne Decroux, he earned a degree in drama and literature from Lake Forest College, near Chicago, Ill. Mermin says he had been coming to Vermont since the early ’70s, and moved here around 1980. In 1987, he founded Circus Smirkus. One of the highlights of his career, Mermin says, is when Marceau came to Vermont to perform a benefit for, and actually talk out loud to, the Circus Smirkus crowd.

Seven Days chatted with Mermin by phone in advance of his presentation — and silent demo — this Sunday.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Montréal en Lumière Festival Beckons, All Week Long

Posted By on Sun, Feb 23, 2014 at 3:08 PM

  • Courtesy of Montreal en Lumiere
  • Air France Ferris wheel

I had intended to drive northward today for a taste of the mega-event called Montréal en Lumière  But, dommage, both of my traveling companions begged off. And since I didn't want to go alone, this is what I am missing. A gigantic Ferris wheel, right in the middle of St. Catherine Street. 

I have an inexplicable love of Ferris wheels. The one pictured here, courtesy of Air France, only looks this way at night, of course. But day or night, what a great view from its top! Well, maybe later this week.

Montréal en Lumière offers way more than a colorful carnival ride, to be sure. There's also something called an "interactive urban super-slide," and scattered around the Place des Festivals are promised "wow" moments from various special effects, including a "cube" that uses lasers, smoke and lighting to produce "multidimensional" hallucinations. Or something like that. I'm wowed just thinking about it. Three-story projections and other light-related stimuli justify the festival's name — and these are all part of the free outdoor site.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

New England Center for Circus Arts Purchases New Land in Brattleboro

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Brattleboro will soon be home to the first custom-built circus-arts building in the United States. 

Thanks to a generous monetary gift, students of the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) can look forward to a single space that contains specialized youth rooms, a performance space, a community meeting room, an in-ground trampoline and foam pit, and flying space. 

NECCA is internationally recognized and popular among circus artists of all ages and experience levels from around the world. The purchased property is located on Town Crier Drive, less than a mile north of downtown Brattleboro. 

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Secret Circus Spotted in Montpelier

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Vermont actor James Gallagher was in the right place at the right time. Strolling through the Montpelier farmers market one recent weekend, he caught a spontaneous circus act. Luckily, he had his camera with him. He shot and edited this short film, set to music he created, and sent it to us.

"It's pretty cool to stumble upon talented street performers!" he wrote in an email.


The nimble performers call themselves Agents Honeymoon and Butterfly, and their act — filled with acrobatics, juggling and "comedic weaponry" — is the Secret Circus

Their real names are Brent and Maya McCoy. The Greensboro-based husband-and-wife duo has performed around the U.S., Canada and Europe since 2009. If you sense a little Bread-and-Puppet vibe in their show, you're right on: Maya apprenticed with the troupe after studying at the New School in New York City. Brent has performed his solo show, The Real McCoy, around the world since 2005.

On their website, the McCoys describe their show thus: "Honeymoon and Butterfly's operations contain the intensity of Mission Impossible, the skill of Circus Arts, and the fashion sense of Napoleon Dynamite."

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