From the beginning of 2020, I have had the pleasure of being part of a small and mighty social circus called TTYL. Created by aerial powerhouse Angola Murdoch of Lookup Theatre, the social circus addresses issues around mental health and wellness through the circus arts. Over their decade in action, I have worked with them in passing over the years: once for a bellydance workshop and the next donating a performance to their fundraising event. I’ve also worked with Angola on another show she produced years back at Second City where I may have been the only performer with my feet on the ground!
Fast forward to early 2020 and I joined the team as co-facilitator with Zita Nyarady, a multi-skilled theatre and circus artist. My role there is more about the social part than the circus part (though the group did teach me some new skills too!). Supporting the mental health of the artists as they learn new skills, crafts, co-create in community and build shows, has been a wonderful merging of my worlds. As both a movement artist and community mental health worker, I highly value the role of art in individual and community wellness and healing, and am so delighted to help facilitate that with TTYL.
In pre-COVID times, the group meets weekly to work together learning new circus arts and practicing on their chosen apparatus. The group is small and close, conversations around mental health and daily challenges are the norm and the amount of compassion and encouragement held collectively within the group is inspiring. The group had been building their next show and excited about all of the co-creations happening!
Once the pandemic hit, the group continued to meet remotely each week, and decided to move forward on a remote show –their first ever distance circus arts show! Of course there were some concessions to make without the access to all of their aerial apparatus!
But tonight we are SO excited to present the artists of TTYL in their first ever quarantine show, Covisions. See you at the circus!
I don’t have many pictures from what had been one of the most significant months of my life in recent times. The significance will no doubt continue to unfold beyond the current meaning it holds for me. The few pictures I have gathered from others, mean a whole lot to me. At the end of August, I graduated from the 200 hour yoga teacher training with Karma Teachers. We worked hard physically and emotionally together, under the guidance of two beautiful and skilled teachers. But the end of that month is just the beginning of a new chapter, that begins with planning ways to integrate this training into all aspects of my life. I have a few ideas: first and foremost, my own personal practice went through a major growth spurt this summer. Each day began with 20-30 mins of meditation and about a two hour asana practice. Currently I practice an hour of asana a day, as well as meditation (sitting, chanting, walking, mindfulness, etc.). I had been practicing solo for so many years and starting to practice with others was really quite powerful. It propelled me into discomfort zones both emotionally and physically, and I have come to know this group that ventured on this journey of self-discovery together, as my karma family.
Second, I am currently offering free and by donation yoga classes on request. It can be at a park, a community centre, a livingroom…I dont have a space but I will teach anyone who wants to practice. ESPECIALLY if you think you can’t, we will modify and show you that anyone can practice yoga.
Third, this experience will only enrich my dance, it cant be any other way. When somoene knows how to move with grace, intention and precision, this shows in dance and I strive for this in my movement. I love pushing the bodies limits incrementally and seeing where that leads. Daily consistent practice does amazing things.
Once September arrived, I was back in action with the troupe, and we had some super fun shows lined up for FanExpo in Rue Morgue’s horror section, the Toronto Veg Food Fair and the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exhibition. See more pics and follow the adventures of the Serpentina North Ensemble on our instagram page.