Internationally renowned director Firenza Guidi, from NoFit State Circus in Wales, is creating a dynamic live circus experience featuring NICA's graduating artists. This site-specific performance opens on 26 November and runs until 6 December, at the custom built National Circus Centre in Prahran.
'Every show that I do is a book of dreams", says Firenza Guidi, "I sell dreams. Most things in life are random. Like the sequence of pictures in a dream."
Audiences can expect a unique encounter. The creative process and technical components will be on display in this site-specific work which engages with the NICA National Circus Centre in an innovative way. There is no back stage - this is a performance which will be fabricated in front of the eyes of the audience!
Raw, raucous and infectious, Dreams from the Second Floor will explore different types of dreams from those which come to us at night, sometimes so vivid that we can smell and taste and touch, to those which we carry with us through our waking reality. Witness performers weave their way through their own dreams - where things are uncharted and the world is upside down.
Twenty one multi-talented artists will present high level circus skills on a range of apparatus including: Aerial Ring, Aerial Straps, Contortion, Rope, German Wheel, Hand Balancing, Hula Hoops, Roue Cyr, Dance Trapeze, Tightwire and Tumbling.
NICA is Australia's Centre of Excellence for training in contemporary circus arts. It is one of eight national arts training institutes and offers Australia's only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Graduates of NICA have gone on to pursue exciting careers both locally and internationally and have contributed to the development of Melbourne's vibrant circus arts industry. The course is accredited by Swinburne University of Technology and attracts applicants from around the world.
Tickets are on sale now at www.nica.com.au
The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) presents:
Dreams From The Second Floor
Director: Firenza Guidi
26 November – 6 December 2014
NICA National Circus Centre
39 - 59 Green Street, Prahran
Session dates and times:
Dates: 26 - 29 November and 3 - 6 December 2014
Times: 7.30pm, Sat 1.30pm and 7.30pm (90 minutes)
Adult $33 / Concession $27 / Child U16 $22
Family (2 adults & 2 children) $88
Family (2 adults & 3 children) $105
Groups (min 10) $25pp
Parental guidance recommended (PG)
Olivia has a background in gymnastics and was 17, when she represented New Zealand at a world cup gymnastics event. From here, she turned to circus classes and after her first time on a trapeze she knew that this was what she wanted to do. After her first year of full time circus training, tragedy struck her hometown in the shape of some devastating earthquakes that destroyed her circus school. Thankfully the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne heard about her school and offered her a position at their school where she could continue living her dream.
Question: What inspired your love of performance?
Olivia Watts: I have always loved gymnastics and circus lets me showcase what I have been training to do since I was a kid. Now I get to be paid for what I love doing.
Question: Why did you want to attend NICA National Circus Centre?
Olivia Watts: It is the only full time accredited circus school in the southern hemisphere. If you want to take circus seriously it is the best place to go on this side of the hemisphere.
Question: Which of the circus skill specialities are you favourite?
Olivia Watts: My favourite by far is hula hoops but I do also love aerial hoop
Question: Can you talk about your move from Christchurch to Prahran to attend the NICA National Circus Centre?
Olivia Watts: I was attending a circus school in Christchurch when the city was struck by a series of massive earthquakes. My school closed down and I thought my training over until NICA opened its doors to me and some fellow students allowing us to finish our training here in Prahran.
Question: What can you tell us about Dreams from the Second Floor?
Olivia Watts: This show is unlike anything I have ever performed in. We have created our own world where we get to explore our own dreams and many others. There is no back stage so the audience get to see many things they normally wouldn't such as the riggers and costume changes etc. It is the most exciting show I will do for a long time.
Question: Can you talk us through your role in the Dreams from the Second Floor show?
Olivia Watts: My character in the show is a sort of Erin Brockovich type woman. She has a lot of responsibilities and does what needs to gets to done. She juggles two and more jobs to make ends meet. She's the bread-winner. As this character I perform a solo hula hoop act and an ensemble aerial hoop act.
Question: What is it like working with Firenza Guidi?
Olivia Watts: Firenza is a crazy creative genius. Her ideas are so creative and different it is clear she extremely talented. She pushes everyone to get outside their comfort zones and try things they normally wouldn't with their apparatus.
Question: What have you learn during your participation in Dreams from the Second Floor?
Olivia Watts: I have learnt a lot of new skills such as singing and how to counter weight another person. I have also learned how to be a more generous performer to an audience.
Question: Can you talk us through the rehearsals for Dreams from the Second Floor?
Olivia Watts: The rehearsal process was quite intense as we didn't have much time with Firenza until we opened the show. The first two weeks we workshopped a lot of different material and then we started to put everything together. It is amazing how quickly it all came together.
Question: How do you feel about the fact there is no back stage in Dreams from the Second Floor?
Olivia Watts: I really like that there is no backstage because it forces me to be performing the entire show. There can be no dead moments. It is challenging in terms of getting ready for the bigger acts because there isn't much time to mentally prepare yourself because you are constantly "on".
Question: What should audiences expect from Dreams from the Second Floor?
Olivia Watts: Audiences can expect a unique encounter. The creative process and technical components will be all on display in this show. Because there is no backstage the audience doesn't miss anything.
Question: What's next for you?
Olivia Watts: Next year I am hoping to find a contract and begin performing full time.
Question: What are your hopes, for the future?
Olivia Watts: I hope to one day perform with a big circus company such a 7 fingers or Cirque Eloize and go all over the world doing what I love every single day.
Interview by Brooke Hunter