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Perpetual Motion

Vivian "Spiral" Hancock finds her flow in circus arts.

Photo Credit: Jarek Stankiewicz

Taking the stage in a swirl of color and light, the artist who calls herself, simply, Spiral works a kind of magic, mesmerizing her audience with performances that incorporate dance, acrobatics, and contortion, and the manipulation of objects like hoops, wands, and juggling balls. She took a break from her rigorous practice schedule to talk about how she turned skills like juggling and hoop dancing into a spiritual practice.What do you say to people when they ask you what you do?I say I’m a professional circus performer, although not quite in the traditional sense.What performance traditions do you draw from?Definitely hoop dance: within that I focus on illusion, shape, and some Native American forms. Some Sufi-style whirling. Contact juggling, magic wand, acrobatics, fire, aerial hoop, and aerial fabric. Although I draw on some existing traditions, I’ve really created my own approach, especially with the ball, the wand, and the hoop. So while part of me longs to have started my training as a child, I appreciate having been free to develop what feels like an authentic expression, my essence co …

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