"Canon for a New Planet"
Composed by Leslie Vogel
and played by the New Planet Ensemble, April 2015
(Scroll down below for photos of each FGC Generation!)
Spreading the Light: the Flying Gravity Circus
Written by Flying Gravity Circus Founding Director Jackie Davis in 2005
(Included with permission from the author)
The Pine Hill Class of 1999 had ten students whose interest in circus went beyond the Hilltop program and into their personal lives and ambitions. This core of ten, plus a sister two years older, wanted to continue to work, train, and play with their new-found skills, and their teacher Jackie Davis sought a way to support their enthusiasm as well as develop her mentorship with this unique constellation of young people. On the ride home from a field trip to see juggler Michael Moschen, the idea was sparked that the group could create a circus company of its own, and the Flying Gravity Circus was born. Brand new to high school, the troupers met every Friday from 3:00 to 9:00 to stretch, strengthen, play, encourage, and develop new skills. Many shared training they had received from their summer camp experiences with Circus Smirkus in Greensboro, Vermont.
In discussions over Fridays’ home cooked dinners, the group realized that there was more to their work than only performing. They appreciated the opportunities provided by their own school circus and wondered whether they could help other schools imagine and start their own youth circus programs. FGC began to work in accordance with the mission statement of the newly founded American Youth Circus Organization: To promote the participation of youth in circus arts. The company booked weekend residencies in schools, starting with a Friday night community performance, continuing with a five-hour skills workshop the following Saturday, and culminating in a mini-circus performance, coached by the FGC troupers and performed by workshop participants. These workshops demystified the circus-making process for teachers and parents, making it possible for schools to charter new circus programs of their own. Additionally, FGC donated a portion of the weekend’s proceeds to each host school as seed money to enable the purchase of new circus equipment. That, and the inspiration kindled by a team of talented teens, has been the impetus behind new circus education programs at schools in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Toronto.
The original core has grown and moved on, many of them into professional circus careers, and all of them deeply affected by their encounter with youth circus. They often return to the Waldorf school where it all began to reminisce and to inspire new generations of Flying Gravity troupers, who continue to illuminate children’s lives through youth circus.
In tribute to the indefatigable founding members of the Flying Gravity Circus:
Abraham Drayton, David Graham, Thora Graham, Kaleen McKeeman, Kerren McKeeman,
Tobin Renwick, Jonathon Roitman, Jacob Skeffington, Dana Stevens, Tim Weeks, Willow Yonika.
As an archetype, the circus is a way to practice creating new ways of realizing your unimagined potential which can be applied in any field, at any age, by any person.
- Jackie Davis
Did you know:
The Flying Gravity Circus Logo was designed by Trouper Parent MaryLyn Yonika in 1999.
Generations of Flying Gravity Circus Troupers:
Flying Gravity Circus - 7th generation - 2015
Jonathon Roitman - Director
New Troupers: Henry Bennet, Harrison Kim, Ben Miron, Ben Morton, William Mussman, Sarah Perreault, Shira Sadeh, Johann Schlaefereit, Gage Turgeon
Returning Troupers: Dylan Biedrzycki, Thomas Buchanan, Kira DiPietrantonio, Jeremiah Dude, Gabriel Halpern-Wight, Owen Kennedy, Meghan McClure, Jack Miron, Joseph Monseur, Katie Sass, Keiran Sass
Flying Gravity Circus - 6th generation - 2012-2013
Jonathon Roitman - Director Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 , Sara Greene - Director Fall 2013
New Troupers: Philip Buchanan (Trouper in Training), Kira DiPietrantonio, Cole Eby, Katie Hanisch, Jack Miron, Joseph Monseur, Josh Rizzo, Noa Sadeh, Chloe Scott, Katie Sass, Keiran Sass, Brooklyn Zielie
Returning Troupers: Alexandra Adinolfi, Dylan Biedrzycki, Thomas Buchanan, Jeremiah Dude, Brian Fischer, Mason Frazier, Gabriel Halpern-Wight, Naylani Halpern-Wight, Owen Kennedy, Meghan McClure, Sorrell Nielsen, Matthew O'Dowd, Camdin Turgeon
Flying Gravity Circus - 5th generation - 2012
Jonathon Roitman - Director
New Troupers: Dylan Biedrzycki, Jeremiah Dude, Mason Frazier, Gabriel Halpern-Wight, Meghan McClure, Camdin Turgeon
Returning Troupers: Alexandra Adinolfi, Thomas Buchanan, Brian Fischer, Naylani Halpern-Wight, Owen Kennedy, Sorrell Nielsen, Matthew O'Dowd
Flying Gravity Circus - 4th generation – 2009-2010
Jackie Davis - Director
New Troupers: Alexandra Adinolfi, Zachary Adinolfi, Thomas Buchanan , Ellie Davis, Georgia Doing, Elise Drapeau, Brian Fischer, Naylani Halpern-Wight, Owen Kennedy, Emily Langdon, Bekk McGowan, Daniel McGuire, Sorrell Nielsen, Matthew O'Dowd, Erica Oliver
Returning Troupers: Greylin Nielsen, Shea Vaccaro
Flying Gravity Circus - 3rd generation - 2004-2005
Jackie Davis - Director
New Troupers: Matthew Frost, Shea Vaccaro, Greylin Nielsen, Elisha Chamberlin, Molly Mirhashem, Robert McGinness,
Returning Troupers: Jennifer Agans, Mason Ames, Viorica Jennings, Tristan Nielsen, Ashley Ogilvy, Lael Skeffington
Flying Gravity Circus - 2nd generation - 2001-2003
Jackie Davis - Director
New Troupers: Jennifer Agans, Mason Ames, Alexandra Frankfurt, Bjorn Falk, Viorica Jennings, Laurel Iselin, Tristan Nielsen, Ashley Ogilvy, Lael Skeffington, Benjamin Swain, Erin Williams, Caroline Wright
Returning Troupers: Jonathon Roitman, Jacob Skeffington
Flying Gravity Circus - 1st generation - 1999-2001
Jackie Davis, Director
Founding Troupers: Abraham Drayton, David Graham, Thora Graham, Kaleen McKeeman, Kerren McKeeman, Tobin Renwick, Jonathon Roitman, Jacob Skeffington, Dana Stevens, Timothy Weeks, Willow Yonika
Silver Lining Circus Camp History
The early years:
The summer camp impulse grew out of Jackie Davis’ circus education program at the Pine Hill Waldorf School in Wilton, NH, where she was working as the movement education teacher. She had founded the school’s Hilltop Circus in 1996 which generated a lot of interest in and around the school for afterschool and summer circus programming.
In 1997, Jackie and her friend and colleague, Barbara Thorngren, started what was then called the Pegasus Circus Camp. For two years Jackie taught circus to 9-14 year old campers and Barbara taught the little ones. Camp was held at the Pine Hill Waldorf School, and a satellite camp sprung up at the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH with Maggie Meyrs. Camp ran this way for two summers.
The Watershed year: 1999
In 1999, the camp’s directorship switched over to Jackie and she renamed it “Silver Lining Circus Camp – where every child has a silver lining!” (Or: “Where every clown has a silver lining!”) Between 1999 and 2001 Jackie ran the camp at the Groh Farm in Wilton and at the Old School in Temple with one hired coach and a couple of teen helpers from her Hilltop Circus program. Two of those fabulous teens were Jon Roitman and Jen Agans who have grown up through the program to become coaches and now directors of our programs!
(1999 was a productive year indeed. Jackie co-founded the Flying Gravity Circus afterschool company with Jon and 12 other teenage circus supernovas – Jen was to follow in Flying Gravity’s Second Company. Also in 1999, Jackie and Rick Davis helped found the American Youth Circus Organization, bringing together for the first time youth circus practitioners from around the United States.)
Jackie began to feel burned out by the stresses of running camp and took a hiatus during 2002-2003. During these two summers she coached at the Circus Smirkus summer camp in northern Vermont and loved the relief of administrative duties and the ability to focus on coaching. At Smirkus she coached: juggling (scarves, balls, rings, clubs, diabolo, devil sticks, poi); balance (tightwire, rolling globe, rola bola, stilts); and clowning with Smirkus camp director Jesse Dryden. Working for Smirkus gave Jackie a new perspective on youth circus culture, many new teaching skills, and a wonderful connection with an important pillar in the regional and national youth circus community.
2004: A “new” partner, a new beginning!
When she returned from Smirkus, Jackie was inspired about coaching but not inspired about administrating her own camp by herself. Her absence from New Hampshire had left a hole in the hometown circus camp landscape but she just couldn’t see herself running Flying Gravity AND Silver Lining on top of her Hilltop Circus work at Pine Hill. Over the dinner table one night she was discussing this conundrum with her life partner Rick, when – SPLAT! – It was a classic head-slapping moment. Why shouldn’t Rick and Jackie team up to run Silver Lining? DUH.
And thus followed many happy and perfect summers.
2015: Changes and transformation. In the fall of 2014, tragedy struck the Silver Lining family. Rick Davis was diagnosed with glioblastoma, or brain cancer. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring, Rick spent many loving moments with his family, community and friends, and was able to attend several of the Silver Lining Circus Camp shows in the summer, treasured memories. During this difficult time, Flying Gravity Circus director Jon Roitman stepped in to run camp for the summer. In the fall of 2015, after a valiant struggle, Rick passed on. He is missed by so many people whose lives he has touched, and his inspiration continues to guide our work.
2016: New Beginnings... In 2016, Rick and Jackie's Daughter Ellie Davis followed in the family tradition, as the director of our Junior camp, guided by her mother Jackie! Meanwhile, Jackie herself stepped back in to direct the Youth Camp.
2017: Onwards! We are back for another summer, with Ellie and Jackie still at the helm, and joining them for the first time will be SLCC Alumnus and long time Coach Naylani Halpern-Wight, as Youth Camp Director. The Silver Lining Circus Camp Legacy continues, and we are so excited that YOU will be a part of it!
Meanwhile, Great news! Starting in 2017, the Silver Lining Circus Camp will be administrated by the Flying Gravity Circus! We will continue to bring you the same quality summer camp experience with our exceptional staff, but the logistics will be handled by the FGC office.
2018: And we're back again! More organized, still the same crew, and so excited to see you!!!