When forced to write bios for the various productions/festivals/etc. I'm so lucky to be a part of, I call myself "tickler of funny bones, master of fun". And that pretty much sums it up. Sure I juggle, dance (from belly to zombie), emcee, and more, but the underlying theme is fun. Heck, I even refuse to call my business cards "business cards". They are instead "fun cards". While this element of fun started as merely a good reason to get invited to parties, it has (to my constant amazement and glee) transformed into a career. Yup, life is good and even better when you get to do what you love for a living. (P.S. Hire me, because I want to keep living the good life.)
The Bellingham Circus Guild (BCG) served as my launchpad into the circus arts. With this community-spirited welcoming organization, I learned many technical skills (from juggling and acro to lights and sound). I fell so in love with the organization that I eventually worked my way up to president (fluffy title, mostly) and Vaudevillingham organizer (not-at-all fluffy title). Organizing Vaudevillinghams for 3 years taught me all about the more hidden aspects of performance (directing, managing, etc.) When not dealing with the managing side of things, I found plenty of time to get on stage whether as MC, in ensemble acts, or to try out solo material. With the BCG, I also produced and performed in various other productions (Petrushka and Circus Supernova just to name a few).
If BCG represented my aspirations towards a professional circus career, the New Old Time Chautauqua balanced that with a healthy dose of a volunteer give-something-back spirit. With NOTC, I've done 5 month-ish long tours where we take vaudeville/circus performance and education to off the beaten path places as well as performed in the benefit shows to fund these all volunteer escapades. As with BCG, I found myself involved not only in the performing side of things, but also on the organizing side. I served a 3 year stint on NOTC's board of directors.
Involvement with such organizations as BCG and NOTC (as well as many others such as Oregon Country Fair and Moisture Fest) led me to realize that vaudeville wasn't a passing phase but a true passion, and I'd be a fool not to take my skills and interest and pursue a career. In that vein, I've taken every opportunity for education that has arisen. I've studied with some of the greats (such as Avner the Eccentric, David MacMurray Smith, and Philippe Gaulier) and taken numerous workshops ranging from simple skill shares at circus festivals to multiple week intensive clown workshops.
While the circus is most of my life, every gal's gotta have outside interests. While they've varied greatly over the years, some of these interests include soccer, Judo chop kung fu killing practice, and calmly helping frazzled people talk through their problems. During those lean years when circus wasn't paying the bills (as opposed to the 7 figure salary I make now), I waitressed, taught soccer and kung fu killing, and lovingly petted people's tiny animals while they were out of town (a.k.a the adventurous career of housesitting).