As 2016 comes to a close I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the time, energy, and money we have devoted to building a new home for NECCA. Our first phase of the building opens July 2017. Sometimes I ask myself “why is this project so important”? When so much is going on in the world and in our hometown, what is it about NECCA and the circus and it’s new home that is so important?
Last week I watched 24 performers from our Youth performance troupes and 44 members of our Professional Training Programs collaborate on stage for this year’s holiday show "The Flying Nut". A little girl, newly fostered into a local family, watched and learned as her circus ‘family’ of pre-teens and teens negotiated dressing room organization, costume changes, rehearsal opportunities and a busy, complex rehearsal schedule. I watched a young performer who lost her father in an unexpected accident a few weeks ago glow on stage, moving as one with her teammates as they defied gravity to spin, swing and twist through the air.
I watched another student in rehearsals in tears after learning that cancer had claimed the life of a dear friend. She was picked up and carried along by the collective energy of her fellow performers, given a focus for her mind that alleviated the personal turmoil. And I watched as a long time student, who recently lost her legs to an accident, performed on stage as an equal member of the circus community, embraced instead of being held back.
This is what NECCA is about. Community, collaboration, support, equality - a safety net to catch you and bounce you back up again. A training ground for the skills and qualities that make for strong community. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that we've accomplished all this while managing rent increases in our current studios, and lost time driving back and forth across town to multiple sites, and despite the fact that many of our students never meet because their programs are in different locations.
Now, thanks to all of our many friends and supporters, we are just months away from having accessible studios all on one property that will enable us to get even better at community, collaboration, support and equality. And of course, we’ll get better at circus, too!
Thank you for your support in 2016, and we thank you for supporting everything we will do in 2017.
With great appreciation,
Serenity Smith Forchion Executive Director
Elsie Adelia Smith Artistic Director
PS: Forward this email to your friends and family so they can support circus fun, too!