Senior plans to go to a circus school next year

Ward is practicing her aerial stunts.

Ward practicing her aerial stunts. Photo used with permission.

Senior Madi Ward speaks to The Shield about her plans to go to the circus school, Cirque Atlantic Halifax, in Canada, after high school.

The Shield: Why Cirque Atlantic Halifax in Canada?

Madi Ward: It’s the one that I’ve [heard from] most recently. There are two other schools I’m waiting to hear back from, one in Seattle and one in New York. But I primarily want to go to a circus training center because I want a whole year of intensive training so I can apply to another school called the National Circus School in Montreal, which will eventually feed me into real circuses.

S: Why not an American school?

MW: Canada has a lot of really good ties. Like I said, I do want to go to National Circus School, which is another is another huge circus school. That’s the best one in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a really, really top notch school, so that’s where the best providers of training are.

S: What are you studying?

MW: I’ll probably be studying tumbling, flexibility and dance, along with movement and theater. Those are like your basics of circus arts. And then I’ll obviously be taking a specific aerial apparatus course. Obviously you could do like unicycling or something else like that, but I’m gonna be interested in doing aerial arts, so I’ll be working on getting better in the air as well as getting really, really proficient on the ground.

S: What are you looking forward to about that year?

MW: Endless training. With school and rehearsals, I’ll really won’t have as much time as I’d like ‘cause this school is going to be 30 hours a week of training plus additional self-taught training. And so I’m really looking forward to having a lot of time to dedicate [to training] because I really want to improve, and I know I can get a lot better with more time.

S: What are you looking forward to in Canada?

MW: Oh, it’s going to be so cold. It’s going to be colder, really anywhere I’m gonna go. I’m definitely applying to Seattle and New York. So these are also possibilities on the table. I’m not for sure going to this one yet. It’s just exciting to go somewhere new and meet new people and in a new setting. And also I’ll be looking forward to everything being closer, so I’ll get to travel and see more of the cities.

S: What do you hope to learn/experience?

MW: I’m most looking forward to managing myself as a performer and to find out new ways to increase my physical abilities because these are really, really well trained and very knowledgeable coaches and people. So I’m looking forward to that.

S: What do you hope to get out of the year of intensive training?

MW: I want to get a lot more flexible. I have a lot of physical goals laid out for myself. I really want to learn a lot of how to be a performer, what it takes to perform, and how to manage myself.

S: What is your biggest worry/concern?

MW: Probably injuring myself. I think that’s less likely since I will have people who really know what they’re doing, and I’ll have a lot of time to warm up and space to do my own thing in. And it’s also a really competitive business, so I’m always worried about not making it in the business.

S:  Do you have any back up plan?

MW: Yes, I applied for colleges. I get college for free in Texas because my dad’s a veteran, and so I’ve applied to Texas State and they have really good online classes, so what I’m planning on doing is while I’m training is taking online courses to get my basics out of the way and then after my career or I decide I don’t want this career, I can either defer for a couple years and go to the college or I can get my basics out of the way and then pursue a career in a different subject.

S: Any particular subjects?

MW: Forensic Anthropology, Archeology, History. Those are big ones for me.

S: If you decided to stay in the circus field, would you return to the U.S.?

MW: Well, if I make it into a circus …there’s a lot of different ones. I would like to do one that is touring. But really whatever contracts come. I’m definitely gonna be auditioning for a lot of circuses that are out there, so if I get a touring gig, I’d like to tour around the country or internationally or whatever really I get into.

S: What would be your ideal circus to join?

MW: Well, I wouldn’t turn down a contract with Cirque Du Soleil, but there are a lot of other really cool circuses coming out like the Seven Finger Circus. There’s just a ton of different contemporary circuses. So, really any one that does a lot of touring I’d really like to get into.

S: How would you describe a “contemporary circus”?

MW: A contemporary circus is one that doesn’t contain animals. That’s the basics of it. And then you’re also telling a story, compared to traditional circus there’s like, “Here look at this. This is really cool.” It’s impressive, but in contemporary circus you’re using your body to tell a story. It’s kind of like acting but without words in a circus setting.

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