Workshop: Experiments in Scripting Aerial: An Actor’s Approach to Creation
When: 2pm – 4pm, Mon – Wed, Dec 10th – 12th
Where: Arcadia, North Studio
How Much: $65
Students are expected to provide at short 20-30 second skill sequence. This sequence does not have to be original or “show ready,” but it should be easily repeatable and appropriate for the current skill level. Modifications can be made in class.
It takes one type of skill set to perform a trick, it takes a whole other skill set to tell a story. This 3 day workshop provides students with acting tools and exercises to investigate and elevate aerial act to give it a narrative structure. Using one repeatable sequence devised by the individual artist, the time will be spent exploring how to take the ideas on a page (or visions in the head) and apply them to the apparatus of choice. This workshop can be done at any level of skill.
Shannon McKenna was never a dancer or a gymnast, but she was one hell of a tree climber. She earned her B.F.A. from NYU with a concentration in physical theater and decided the summer after college, without much idea of what it meant, to become a circus artist. She packed up her life in a suitcase and began travelling the globe in search of the best coaches to teach her, teaching aerial arts to whoever wanted to learn from her, and put her work on any stage she could.
Since that fateful decision, she trained with coaches from Montreal to Berlin to Guadalajara, and obtained her coaching certification from The New England Center for Circus Arts. She teaches workshops and classes to all ages and abilities in over 20 states from Circus Smirkus in Vermont all the way to the legendary San Francisco Circus Center in California.
Her performance work has spanned from traditional shows in large arenas to intimate contemporary pieces in small black box theaters. She performs as a solo artist, a part of artistic duos, and ensembles. Career highlights include the two times she unexpectedly performed her silks number in Germany, learning to catch on the flying trapeze 6 days before a show, and hanging underneath a motorcycle on a tight wire with the Flying Espanas.
In 2018, Shannon launched The Artist Athlete, an online resource that produces educational material for aerialists, as well as a weekly podcast which contains interviews with professionals in the circus industry. It is available on Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and iTunes.