Cory Allen is a professional circus artist who specializes in aerial hoop and trapeze. He trains at the Circus Project when he is between projects, and we had the chance to sit down with him the other day and pick his brain.
Tell me about your circus history.
I saw Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai when I was very young, and I was immediately inspired to do circus. I started training circus seriously in 2009 through the Circus Project’s Training Company. I’ve been teaching and performing freelance for years now, and at the moment I’m training at the Circus Project to keep my skills up while I’m getting ready for my next contract with AIDA Cruises.
Tell me about a memorable performance:
Well, one comes to mind for being a terrible performance! It was a long time ago, and it was one of the first handbalancing performances that I did. The stage was really wobbly, and it was outside and super hot - it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong, not to mention that I wasn’t very experienced at performing handbalancing yet! On top of that, my costume was hilarious - I was a neon green lizard. But actually, Farrah Moan did my makeup, who was on RuPaul’s drag race, so at least that was cool.
Why do you do circus?
It’s my creative outlet, it’s my way to express myself. I’m a very creative person, but I’m better at expressing myself through circus than I am through words.
What’s your favorite warm-up exercise?
[Laughing] There’s one silly exercise that I have to do before warming up for anything, whether it’s handstands or aerial or dance. I rock back and forth on my back, then lean back on my shoulders and bring my knees to my face so they are kind of on the floor. I just did it today downstairs!
Why do you train at the Circus Project?
The Circus Project has always been my circus home! The environment here is very relaxing. There are a lot of other studios that have a very competitive vibe, and Circus Project doesn’t have that - it’s very supportive.
Do you have other hobbies?
So many! I paint, draw, sing… I actually sang on my last contract, can you believe it? I build things, like, all the time. I love building furniture and other random projects. I’m always looking at something and thinking, “this could be better if I just changed this teenie little thing…” even if it’s completely unnecessary!
What advice would you give to other circus artists or students?
Hm…I would have to say, don’t take criticism to heart. There’s always going to be someone that tells you you’re not good enough - just keep doing what you know you need to be doing. I was told over and over that I can’t be a male hoop artist and get a contract - and look at me now!
What’s a fun fact about you that people may not know?
I love raisins, but I don’t like raising in anything.