Three Ring Fun

NECCA dancers perform "Intertwine" as part of their Circus Springboard project. Photo by B. Dennis
A premiere Circus Arts school in Vermont receives NEA funding for rural performances

Fly 20 feet through the air from a trapeze bar, vertically dance up walls, spin on an aerial hoop, flip and tumble, and defy gravity. These astounding activities are available to everyone, from children to adults to aspiring circus performers, at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Founded in 2007 with a mission to provide accessible circus arts education for all ages and abilities, NECCA boasts a staff of more than 60 skilled instructors and coaches, along with guest artists and instructors from around the world. From recreational classes to high-level “ProTrack” training for would-be professionals, the center offers myriad workshops, immersions, retreats, and symposiums, all within their state-of-the-art Trapezium.

NECCA also presents numerous performances by renowned circus companies, companies in residence, and Beta night works-in-progress, in addition to special events in the community, open house celebrations, and a dazzling annual fundraiser, The Circus Spectacular, starring guest artists from circuses around the world. Recently, NECCA was honored by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grants for Arts Projects award of $15,000 to support their Circus Springboard tour.

Photo by NECCA staff

Devised by guest director Neva Cockrell and third-year students from the ProTrack program, Circus Springboard embraces innovation and creative work in American contemporary circus for rural New England. “We are so grateful to receive this support from the NEA to help ensure that circus arts can be accessible to everyone to experience,” says NECCA’s Executive Director Jenna Struble. “Funding is essential to the sustainability of this unique art form that blends athleticism with artistry.”

Recognizing how NECCA serves as a vital community resource, National Endowment for the Arts Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D., says, “The NEA is delighted to announce this grant to the New England Center for Circus Arts, which is helping contribute to the strength and well-being of the arts sector and local community.”

The upcoming Circus Springboard tour begins in May 2024 and will include shows at the Claremont Opera House and Redfern Arts Center at Keene University, both in New Hampshire, the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA, and on the campus of NECCA in Vermont. “Circus Springboard gives the public a chance to experience the jaw-dropping excitement of circus arts,” says Struble, “and supports emerging circus artists by fostering skills on tour.

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