Former AcroStaffer Victoria Quine rocks the boat in a seafaring circus
It was a blistering day in late July and I was dangling in my harness from the mast, slowly guiding the truss up 30 feet from the deck below. I was one of two aerialists in Caravan Stage Company's Production "Hacked: the Treasure of the Empire". The cast and crew amounted to 10 performers and 10 others from 8 different countries. In April I set off to join Caravan in Brooklyn, NY. We traveled up the Hudson River, Erie Canal, across Lake Ontario, and up to the St. Lawrence River performing for towns all along the water. They ranged from tiny rural communities to bustling tourist destinations with audiences of over 600 packed along the dock to watch us perform on the ship.
It's a fairly big undertaking, the breakdown and set-up of this political, multimedia opera. First we needed to unpack everything off the deck of the 90 foot river barge, organize it on land, scurry up the ratlines and clip in. There, I spent the rest of the day bolting the truss together, screwing in the grates to stand on, and from there, building the set which includes doors, large screens for projections, a larger-than-life hippocampus (a mythical horse/serpent), mini roller coaster, and of course the aerial pods from which I was performing.
As an aerialist and acrobat, I finally had the opportunity to perform on silks, rope, and chains (which yes, hurts exactly as much as you can imagine). The show not only featured aerialists and showcased some talented voices, but also utilized video projection, masks and puppetry to tell the story of four intrepid pirates who steal the gold from the global bank, Mammon Corps, with the intention to distribute it freely to the 99%.
Touring with this Canadian company was more of an adventure than I could have ever anticipated. I made some really wonderful friends along the way, including my fellow aerialist with whom I'm currently performing here in the Bay Area! Plus, I got to learn about life on a boat, not just as a performer, but as a crew member navigating and steering The Amara Zee.
She's currently sailing her way down to Florida where she'll winter, but I have returned to CA and am excited to be performing and teaching again out here. All in all, one of the things I love about being a circus artist is the opportunity for adventure and getting to share that with my students. Who knows, maybe one of our very own students at AcroSports will be future Caravaners!
About Victoria Quine:
Victoria Quine began her circus career at her alma mater Hampshire College where she studied cognitive psychology and child development. She then went on to train at the National Institute of Circus Arts and the New England Center for Circus Arts. Victoria was head aerial coach for AcroSports Sept 2014-April 2015 and currently teaches and performs in the Bay Area.