New England’s Quietly Expanding Center for Professional Circus

Spectacle Magazine

In an odd sort of way it comes as no surprise to discover that entire state of Vermont is listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation registry of engendered sites.  Tucked into every bucolic corner of the state’s villages and quaint towns are warrens of endangered artists and craftsmen, among whom one can find the artists, instructors and trainers of the New England Center for Circus Arts in the charming town of Brattleboro. The Center inhabits two floors of a former cotton mill which they share with potters, visual artists and sculptors who work in every conceivable medium.  Thanks to their studios’ sixteen foot ceilings and the aerial expertise of the Center’s founders, the Smith twins, Elsie and Serenity, who work under the professional name of the Gemini, most of the students, both professional and recreational, train on the various forms of aerial arts.  But there is also the opportunity to try almost every other circus art as well: unicycle, juggling, clowning, German wheel, wire walking, partner acrobatics, contortion, and hand balancing, almost all of which were on display in the Center’s graduation show for its professional track students earlier this month.

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