Hello world! My name is Rena, and if you’ve been following Cirque Us for a hot minute then you may already know who I am. For those of you who do not (yet), here’s a quick introduction. I am an aerialist, contortionist, and dancer based in Brattleboro, Vermont. When I am not working with Cirque Us, I work with AIDA Cruises, a German cruise ship company, doing those same things. Some of my favorite things in life are avocados, lemurs, and my car who I’ve recently dubbed Subichka. 2020 will mark my third season performing with Cirque Us, and I am so excited for so many reasons!

Rena on Aerial Slings in RagTag Photo by Amira Silverman

As a child growing up in the 90’s, I used to watch a little educational television program called School House Rock!. Each episode of the series covered a different subject such as grammar, American history, and science, but my personal favorite was the mathematics episode. Within this episode, my favorite segment was called “Three is a Magic Number”. You can watch the full video below but, in short, it is a folk-inspired tune that illustrates all sorts of things that come in 3’s, such as trilogies and tripods and tricycles and whatnot (you get the idea).

When I first sat down to write this post, this song immediately came to mind and has not left my brain since. I tried to figure out exactly why this is, and after a lot of pondering I think it’s because three really does feel like a magic number to me as far as Cirque Us is concerned. At minimum, it feels significant. I never imagined that Cirque Us would become as integral and as important to my circus career as it has since I was first cast in 2018, but I couldn’t be happier about it and the things I have gained from being here. If StarStruck was about learning the ropes and RagTag was about building upon that experience to create a rich and successful show, this season should ideally be about thriving at every level- as they say, third time’s the charm. At a personal level, I’m excited to take the two acts I created last year- sling and contortion- and make them technically more challenging and artistically more interesting. I’m also excited to flesh out my character’s personal narrative and to answer questions I ran out of time to explore in 2019 (why DOES the cast throw rags at me? Who knows, but stay tuned to find out!). Thinking about RagTag as a show, I’m incredibly excited to see what quirks and characters our new cast members will bring to it, and how the show will naturally adapt to include these changes. Finally, thinking about Cirque Us as a whole, I cannot wait to see how all the hard work and effort of the last few years and especially of last season begins to pay off in 2020, and I hope that this cast and this show will be the driving forces that push Cirque Us to the next phase of its existence as a contemporary American circus company. If it’s true that three is a magic number, then I have no doubt that my third season with Cirque Us will be appropriately spectacular.

Rehearsal for RagTag at Circus Culture. Photo by Steve Sarafain

As of writing, I will have about a week between when I arrive home from my contract at sea (greetings from the Indian Ocean!) and when we begin rehearsals for RagTag in Lake Placid, New York. It will be a speedy break before an even speedier creation period, but for now I’m not so worried about it. I’m confident that even if I’m tired, a little achy, and almost certainly jet lagged, 2020 RagTag will be even more exciting than the last. Hope to see you there!

About the Author Cirque Us

A company that expresses the freedom of play through circus and performing arts, Cirque Us is a circus collective on our fourth summer tour. Our upcoming show, "RagTag: A Circus in Stitches" will open on June 22nd in White River Junction, VT and will tour around the east coast performing a total of 25 shows. We will use this space to engage with our audiences in a new way by sharing the on and off stage details of what it is really like being a part of a circus. This blog will document the creations, experiences, and shenanigans that are bound to occur while on the road. Thank you for joining us on this journey and we hope to see you down the road. For more information on our upcoming show please visit our website. www.TheCirqueUs.com

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