Last updated: July 25. 2013 9:13AM - 247 Views

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Joseph Pratt

PDT Contributor

Cirque d’Art Theatre proved to be a well-oiled machine over the weekend, as they closed their 2012-2013 season with their annual June show to the theme of “Steampunk Circus.” The Friday night crowd rose to their feet during the energetic routine to “Star Spangled Banner,” and were then were treated to the new aerial equipment and the stunning routines.

“It’s been a long season and we’ve crossed many milestones. We have more students enrolled now than ever, currently at 265 students,” Director Pegi Wilkes said. “I think everyone is really eager to do their best, because they’ve absolutely worked as hard as they can and are ready to move on to the next level.”

The students at Cirque are always growing, not only in numbers, but in skill and show. Every year they get more rigging and equipment, the acts get longer and more elaborate, and the spectacle gets better focused.

“We always have this thought that we could have done more. We could have glued on a few more sequins. We could have added a few more layers of net to the tutus. You always want to do more and I think that is one of the keys to the success of the circus, because Trish and I always feel like we’ve given it a really good shot, but we can do it better,” Wilkes said. “I think that rubs off on the students and they keep it coming. I think we’ve done a really wonderful job this season and next will only be better.”

Mckenzie Thompson, 16, has been enrolled in Cirque for 12 years and was involved in many of the dance acts of “Steampunk Cirque,” including triple trapeze, swinging trapeze, tap, and lyrical dance. She was most excited to be working on the trapeze for this show and said that it took a lot of work to get to that level.

“I had to do a lot of hand strengthening training,” Thompson said. “I have calluses on my hands and burns on my legs. It is a lot of practice and we get worn out, but it is worth it.”

Thompson said that “Steampunk Circus” was one of her more favorite shows, because it was darker than their usual color-filled shows, which was obvious from viewing recordings of their past shows.

Autumn Thompson, 20, has been enrolled in Circus for 11 years, but was involved in dance before even that. Thompson was involved in several acts of the show as well, some being trapeze acts, an adagio routine, and tap.

Spending time in the air is a part of the circus for Autumn, but she still gets a little nervous when it comes to show time, “I am a little bit nervous, but I’ve done it before, so I’m pretty solid this year.”

The trapeze routines are pretty complicated to rehearse and have to be done after hours in the studio. The dancers can’t risk any distractions at all.

“There really has to be a lot of silence when you practice the trapeze, because you could fall of at any time and land in the audience,” Autumn said. “Oh, Hi, audience.”

No one fell and the circus proved just how smooth they run operations, as they closed a show that lasted over two and a half hours and featured three acts and 31 routines. Even in the middle of directing such a lengthy show, Wilkes has already been planning next year’s show with partner Trisha Schmidt.

“We already know what our season closer for next season will be. We are planning “Cirque Around the World,” Wilkes said. “We will have country themed music and dance. We will have a little muse out there in the beginning and they will just guide you through the different cultures.”

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