“On Highway 75, nestled between the dollar store and Peñasco schools, is one of the areas best-kept “not-so-secret” secrets. Hand-built in 1940 by Amado Roybal, the Peñasco Theatre stands as a testament to the resiliency of a community gathering place, and the importance of keeping alive performance traditions.
A non-profit community arts, project the Peñasco Theatre Collective (PTC), a group of performers and visual artists who call Peñasco home, continue the tradition of utilizing the arts to bring people together in a mutually respectful culturally diverse environment.”
THE PENASCO THEATRE’S SUMMER CIRCUS IMMERSION CLASSES are coming up this weekend, August 15 &16. We interviewed Alessandra Ogen to learn more — read on!
This summer marks the 15th year of our summer youth arts program. Youth from the surrounding area as well as from out of town participate.
What made you decide to add the Adult Summer Circus Immersion this year?
We have done adult workshops in the past, and offer year round aerial arts classes for adults at the theatre. It is always very successful and we hope to offer more weekend intensives this fall.
What level of experience do participants need to have?
We have 2 “tracks” of the workshop. Saturday morning we are offering a special Beginning Adult/Teen “sampler” opportunity! We have 3 classes in a row; Aerial Arts (trapeze and fabric), Stilts and Partner acrobatics.The classes are one hour each, and participants can take just one, or all 3. The hope is that adults who have always wanted to try out circus arts can come and get a great introduction.
The Saturday afternoon and Sunday classes are for participants who have previous experience with either stilts or aerial arts. However, the theatre class for example is open to anyone regardless of experience.
Anything in particular they should expect over the two-day immersion?
We wanted to offer classes that people could take just as ONE class, OR that would appeal to people coming from Santa Fe or ABQ to take a full weekend of classes.
We are offering dinner at $15 a person as and accommodations for the night for $20 a night.
I am excited about one of the classes, for people who have previous aerial experience — ” What’s the Point,” because as aerial arts have become more and more popular, I am interested in not what tricks someone is doing, but what people are trying to say with their art forms. As artists, I feel like we have a responsibility to reflect on what is happening in the world around us, and use our art to say something about what we see.
I am interested in exploring with aerialists how their work can be about something that matters to them, and be a platform for addressing an issue that is close to their heart.
Obviously in a 2-hour class, this will only be scratching the surface, but hopefully it can get people out there thinking about how to use their skills to reflect on the world around us.
What’s the best part about teaching — kids AND grown-ups — the circus arts?
The best part about teaching for me is helping facilitate a safe and supportive space for people to grow and try new things. One of the things that attracts me to circus arts in specific is that the skills are often new to people, and require people to reach outside their comport zone. The experience of being successful at something that seemed impossible can be a powerful metaphor for many aspects of one’s life.
Circus arts often require trusting your self and other people, which I feel are important life skills. I don’t teach circus arts with the thought that people will be becoming professional circus performers (though many of my students have); I teach because I have seen people develop more trust, self confidence, and an expanded world view by taking circus classes.
If people can’t make it this weekend, are there other times during the year when they can come take classes with you?
We will be starting weekly aerial arts classes at the theatre on Mondays at 6pm starting in September.
Learn more and register now at: www.penascotheatre.org