Spotlight: Jane and Emi, Brio Training Company Members

Emi (age 9) and Jane (age 11) were in the Summer Performance Intensive (SPI) and they are also members of the Brio Training Company. I had the chance to sit down with them over the summer, a week before heading to San Diego to perform in the American Youth Circus Organization Festival.

Tell me about your history with circus:

Jane and Emi.jpg

Emi:  I saw a circus show a long time ago and I was like “Oh, that looks really really cool!  I want to do that!” I started with contortion and now I’ve been doing circus for about five years. 

Jane: I’ve done dance for 6 years and I started circus when I moved here from Chicago.  I was taking classes at Circus Project for about a year and then I started Brio, the Youth Training Company.  I really wanted to do more circus and Brio was the next step up from classes.

Why did you choose to do SPI (Summer Performance Intensive)?

Emi: I had seen some shows from SPI last year and I felt like I wanted to make the commitment to really put all of my space and time into circus.  I just wanted to go as much as I can - this is 15 hours a week and it’s been really hard but I’ve been having a really great time. 

What’s a favorite performance you did with the Circus Project and why?

Jane: I hope it’s going to be the one in San Diego [for the American Youth Circus Festival].  I’m really excited about the festival and being away from my parents.  It’s a big festival with kids from all over. We’re all going to be taking classes there and it will be really fun!  

What is one of your favorite memories from SPI last summer?

Jane: Performing at the Galaxy Festival was really fun and really cool.  It was fun to have the audience be so close, to be able to interact with them and see them be like, “wow!”

Emi: Getting to know all of the people and learning how to work with people’s personalities, learning styles, and different teachers.  It’s been amazing working with so many different people and learning new things.

What’s your favorite circus trick?

Emi: An aerial (a cartwheel with no hands). I like the feeling of realizing that you’re in the air - you think you’re falling, but it’s just amazing to feel like nothing is touching the ground right now.  You’re just floating in space.

Jane: A double-360 on the fabric. It’s a big drop and that feeling is special, it’s really fun.  The trick is hard to get into, and then when you finish the prep, you’re like ‘oh my gosh, am I really about to do this?’ But the longer you wait the harder it is to do the drop - once you’re up there you just have to go!


What are some of your circus goals?

Emi: To learn how to control my flexible back because it doesn’t control very easily.  It’s getting a lot better, though - I can hold a handstand now!

Jane: To be really good at handstand walking and to have a good wheeldown on the silks. 

How would you describe the Circus Project?

Emi:  The Circus Project is a place where you learn how to train your body to twist, bend and do a lot of different things with it in whole new ways that you would never think about!

Jane: It’s a super cool, super fun place to have fun in the air and do flips!

What do you do in your free time aside from circus?

Emi: Most of the time I’m here!  If I have any free time this year, I’m going to try to do more dance. I do a lot of stretching at home. And in my free time I hang out with other people from circus.

Jane: I act and I do musical theater. But I basically do circus most days, so that’s a hard one.  Hm… I go to school.

What is your favorite subject in school?

Jane: It’s either math or science. 

Emi: Homeroom and social studies.  

What’s a fun fact about you that people may not know?

Emi: I’m Jewish.  And my favorite roller coaster is the one at Oaks Park where you go upside down four times.  

Jane: I love movies, especially adventure movies like Lord of the Rings and the Hunger Games. I like Harry Potter, but the books are better.