Words of Wisdom
As the CirKid year ends, we always get ready to watch a few of our oldest students set off on new adventures—which may or may not include CircusWest. We are proud of each and every student that we teach, but there’s a particular bittersweet joy for those students who are heading off to take on (or take over!) the world. This year, we sat down with Kaia Neilsen-Ronne (who played the Architect in ILLUSIVE: A Circus of Possibilities) and Brigit Stewart (who played the Artist) to ask them a bit about growing up with the circus.
How long have you been training at CircusWest?
Kaia Nielsen-Ronne: I’ve been at CircusWest for 11 years.
Brigit Stewart: Since 2006! I left briefly to play soccer, but rejoined a year or two later.
Do you remember what first made you want to take circus class?
K: I first wanted to join when I saw my first show (Circus Anonymous) and I ended up doing a summer camp right after.
B: I remember going to seeing CircusWest’s production of A Circus Odyssey, and being completely blown away by the performance. In that moment I decided that I wanted to do that: wanted to perform circus in front of people. And now here I am!
What is about CircusWest that kept you here for so long?
K: I love the physical elements of performance and training, and the community within the troupe is very close-knit and supportive.
B: The amazing connections I’ve formed with the coaches and my peers, and how it’s a place that nurtures creativity and individuality, as well as the opportunity to be a part of professional level productions.
What’s your favourite part about being a CirKid?
K: My favourite part about being a CirKid is being able to train and perform with so many other wonderful people.
B: I love being part of a team, especially when everyone is so determined and passionate. And I have a particular love for being on stage, and I have found my adventures here endlessly rewarding.
What advice do you have for new CirKids?
K: For incoming CirKids I’d say be prepared to try anything; you never know what discipline will grab your attention. I never would have thought to try poi but now it’s one of my favourite props!
B: There’s something here for everyone! Find your niche, but don’t be afraid to open up to the possibility of new experiences. And show compassion for everyone in the gym: Circus isn’t a competition sport! Support your team, and they’ll support you.
Anything else you want to add?
K: I’m planning on continuing my training outside of the performance program, and hoping to continue to perform and teach in the upcoming year. I’ll also be working towards a degree in architectural design.
B: After years of circus I’m moving on to do musical theatre, and it’s bittersweet to say goodbye, but I know it’s my next step. CircusWest has truly solidified my connection to the stage, and helped me hone my craft so that I’m on my way to being the best performer I can be. CircusWest has taught me to work hard for what I love, to pursue my passions head on, and to problem solve and think outside the box. I will forever be grateful for this place.