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Jessica Brandon, 15, of Pacific Palisades. "I'm not quite sure yet if I'm hoping to be a professional," she says, "but it's just a really great way to have a little bit of arts and exercise and combines a lot of the things I enjoy."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Nava Lavine, 13, and Soli Rachwal, 15, bottom, at Kinetic Theory Circus Arts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Emma Kofman, 15, of Los Angeles. "Dracula" is her fourth show at Kinetic Theory, where she trains nine hours a week, with current focuses on contortion and hoop.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Hannah Kelson, 15, of Los Angeles. Kelson is one of the vampire brides in "Dracula, A Symphony of Terror." "I think hoop is a lot prettier when you can do a lot more flexible shapes," she says. "I use contortion to better my hoop skills. I also love contortion because it betters my dancing."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Sydney Bernard, 17, of Topanga. "It's great, but it's also really challenging," she says. "I love doing what I do, but it's also kind of mentally and physically taxing, because you're training 25 hours per week. It's like, this is what I have to do! Aw, it hurts, but I love it!" Bernard is finishing her high school degree online so she can focus on circus, and is perfecting a professional independent circus act that she will take to Europe.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Nava Lavine, 13, of Beverlywood. Lavine is developing her work in aerial and static trapeze, and her natural flexibility comes in handy when she performs contortion. "I love the community," she says about the program. " I love circus and training. I think it’'s all really unique."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Nava Lavine has been at Kinetic Theory for two years and is showcasing her skills in "Dracula" as a doubles partner and vampire bride.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Fosse Lin-Bianco, 13, of Los Angeles focuses on aerial and rope, and he also does a lot of tumbling. He plays Dracula's supernatural creature counterpart in the show. "I love creature, that's the thing I love to do and I think I do it pretty well," he says. "[The director] was like I really want this fast and really fast music and just like spinning and twirling and all this cool stuff. It inspired me to put all my energy into this one character, even if it's just for one minute."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Kawika Stanton joined Kinetic Theory last year, beginning as the theater stage hand, moving out from Maui without any circus skills. Training rigorously, he developed enough to join the troupe, and juggles clubs and blocks and does other physical work in the show as the insane Renfield.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Soli Rachwal, 15, left, Nava Lavine, 13, middle, and Cheya Potter, 14, at Kinetic Theory Circus School in Culver City.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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Developing as young artists in the circus world

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Developing as young artists in the circus world

Kinetic Theory Circus Arts trains youth and pre-professionals in circus arts including aerial, acrobatics, juggling and contortion.1546585_et_adv_culture_monster_11_FO.jpg Training and performances are year-round, with troupes for ages 8-13 and 14-25. Veteran coaches from all over the performance world, including Cirque du Soleil, work with the students. Many youths stay for several years, developing specialties and a well-rounded approach to circus, with some continuing on into the professional ranks. This portrait series was shot during the pre-professional troupe’s run of “Dracula, A Symphony of Terror,” and captures each performer in their focused element.


1 Comment

  1. October 23, 2013, 10:31 am


    By: toemailer

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