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2017 Youth Circus National Festival

Youth Artist Showcase Guidelines and FAQ

 

Thank you for your interest in participating in the 2017 AYCO Festival Youth Artist Showcases. These will be presented as part of the American Youth Circus Festival, hosted by the Trenton Circus Squad in Trenton, New Jersey.

Important Dates

    • The 2017 AYCO Festival will take place August 16-20, 2017
    • Performances will be presented on August 17 and 18 at 7:30pm
    • APPLICATION DUE BY: June 10

For more information about the 2017 American Youth Circus Festival, the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO), AYCO membership, and festival registration please visit: http://www.americanyouthcircus.org/national-festival-2017/

Application Information

  • You may submit as many acts as you like, but you must submit separate applications for each different act.
  • We can guarantee acceptance of one act from each organization, submitted by the leadership of that organization.  These acts may be a large group act, small group act, or individual act.  You may submit as many pieces as you would like in as many disciplines as you want and we will work with you to find what will best represent your organization in the performance.  In the case that there is room, we may accept more than one act from an organization.
  • Acts submitted by individuals not applying as part of an organization will be accepted to the showcase on a case by case basis. Due to the limited number of performance slots, we will not be able to accept all individuals submitting acts.  If you have more that one act or discipline that you would like to submit, please do so.  We will take a look at what will best serve the show when making our selections.
    • *PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a competition. Performers of ALL SKILL LEVELS in all circus disciplines are encouraged to apply, and acts will not be selected based on skill level.  We will be looking for acts that are complete, polished performances at whatever skill level the performers have achieved.  
  • At the American Youth Circus Festival there are two separate shows, one Thursday night and one Friday night.  By submitting an application for the festival, you are submitting to participate in either show.  The production team will determine which acts are in which show.  If you have any concerns about this, please contact polly@americanyouthcircus.org .

 

We are seeking Masters of Ceremony and Clowns

We would love to include youth performers with developed clown characters who would perform smaller transitional bits throughout the shows.  We are also seeking Ringmasters, either youth or adult performers, who would  be able to serve as hosts to the shows, introducing acts and adding their own fun to the show.  If this interests you or one of your students please email showcase director Polly Solomon directly at polly@americanyouthcircus.org

 

The 2017 AYCO Festival Youth Artist Showcase Application can be completed here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2017AYCOFest_ShowcaseAp

Important Information & Criteria for Act Submission

*Your wellbeing is our number one priority. Please note that AYCO guidelines require certain safety procedures be followed with specific types of acts. All performers under 18 must have a coach, parent, or guardian with them that knows their act and can be responsible for the young person’s health and safety. All aerial performers must have a spotter on stage and must work over crash mats. We will contact you should there be any safety concerns based on your application.

 

Who can participate

  1. Youth ages 21 and under are eligible to perform.
  2. Exceptions will be made only if a young adult is over 21 but enrolled in a youth circus program that serves an extended age range or is a member of a college circus club.
  3. Performers wishing to participate in the American Youth Circus Festival Showcases must register to attend the festival.  Submitting a performance application DOES NOT register you for the festival.  You can submit a performance application prior to registering, but will need to be a registered festival participant to perform.  Festival registration will be on AYCO’s website: http://americanyouthcircus.org/

 

Chaperones

  1. Each youth under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone (a coach or guardian) who knows the act that will be performed and who can advocate and look out for the health and safety of the performer.  In the case of aerial acts, this person must also be able to serve as a spotter.
  2. Chaperones must be indicated on the performance application. Access to the backstage area will be restricted and only those individuals will be able to enter with performers.  This is to insure the safety of our Youth Artists.
  3. Chaperones must register for the American Youth Circus Festival separately from their youth.  Festival registration can be found on AYCO’s website.
  4. At this year’s festival, Chaperone Assistance is being offered at an additional cost.  If a family opts for this program, youth ages 8-17 will be assigned to a grownup who will be able to check in with them and keep an eye on them throughout the festival day.  An assigned adult from the Chaperone Assistance CAN NOT be the designated chaperone for performers during their tech and performance since they will not know the student or their act.  The chaperone MUST be an adult who is familiar with the act, the performer(s), and any potential safety concerns that might be associated with it to serve as a spotter.
  5. The chaperone must be present while the piece is participating in its technical rehearsal, while performers are preparing backstage, and while performers are on stage.

 

Disciplines

  1. We will be selecting acts from diverse disciplines in order to create a well-rounded show.
  2. We will be working alongside the rigging team at the venue to choose aerial acts based on venue rigging capabilities.

 

Length of Acts

  1. Solo and duo acts can be 2-4 minutes long.
  2. Acts with larger groups can be 2-6 minutes long.
  3. In order to accommodate as many pieces as possible in the show, submitted acts may be asked to shorten their run time.  In this case, directorial suggestions will be offered to aid in the process.

Equipment

  1. Youth are required to bring any equipment and rigging specific to your piece unless you have specified that you need us to provide it in the application, in which case we will help source the equipment.
  2. The festival will provide mats for acts to use. If you require a very specific type of mat, note it in the application.

 

Music and Costume

  1. All pieces must provide their own music, costumes, and props. Music and costume must be rated “PG” and be family friendly.
  2. Please ensure that you have listened to the words of your music and practiced numerous times with your costume to ensure that both are appropriate for a family audience. If the words of your music are in a language you do not speak, find a translation to confirm that it is appropriate.

Video

  1. A video of a performance or rehearsal of your act is mandatory.
  2. We need to see what you’d like to perform. This is important for safety as well as to make sure we know enough about your act to know how it would work in the context of the entire showcase.

*Please Note: We know that some organizations use their summer sessions to build acts to bring to the American Youth Circus Festival.  In certain circumstances, we will be able to accommodate this.  You will still need to submit an application with as many details as possible by June 10th to be considered for the shows.  Please make note in your application if this is your intention.  If your act is selected, we will still need to see video of a rehearsal of the act prior to the festival.

Showcase Application Frequently Asked Questions

Please see the question below for further information about applying to perform in the 2017 American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO) Festival Youth Showcase.  If you still have any questions about the Showcase Application process, please email Showcase Director Polly Solomon at polly@americanyouthcircus.org

 

General Application Questions

Where can I find the application for these showcases?

Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2017AYCOFest_ShowcaseAp

When is the application due?

All applications must be received by June 10th.  We do not have the capacity to accept late applications.  We know that some organizations use their summer sessions to build an act to bring to the American Youth Circus Festival.  In certain circumstances, we will be able to accommodate this.  You will still need to submit an application with as many details as possible by June 10th to be considered for the shows.  Please make note in your application if this is your intention.

When will I be notified about acceptance?

Performers applying to perform at the American Youth Circus Festival will be contacted with their acceptance status by July 15th.

Who can perform in these AYCO showcases?

All performers ages 21 and under are eligible to perform.  Exceptions will be made only if a young adult is over 21 but enrolled in a youth circus program that serves an extended age range or is a member of a college circus club.  Performers wishing to participate in the 2017 AYCO Youth Festival Showcase must register to attend the festival.

Do I need to be part of an organization to apply to be in the showcases?

No.  We accept applications from individuals as well as from circus schools and organizations.  There is a spot in the application where you will be able to indicate if you are part of an organization or if you are applying as an individual.

Do I need to submit an act I’ve performed before or can I submit a new act?

You do not need to submit an act that you’ve performed before, but your application needs to show that your act is polished enough to be safely performed on stage.  You must submit video of your act, which can either be of a performance or rehearsal of the piece.

Performers of ALL SKILL LEVELS in all circus disciplines are encouraged to apply, and acts will not be selected based on skill level.  We will be looking for acts that are complete, polished performances at whatever skill level the performers have achieved.

How selective is acceptance to perform in the showcases?

Our showcases aim to be inclusive and to reveal the diversity of the youth circus community. To serve that mission we include as many acts as possible. However due to limited performance slots, sometimes we are unable to accept all of the acts we receive. We are unable to accept acts that are deemed unsafe by our safety committee, that aren’t feasible in our venues, or are unfinished.

I want to submit more than one act. Do I need to submit more than one application?

Yes! You must submit a different application if you are submitting multiple acts. In other words, you must submit one application per act.

Do I need to submit a video?

Yes, you must include a video of every act you submit to be performed at the showcases.

What are the required components of the video?

We need to see the full act that you wish to perform! This is important for safety as well as to make sure we know enough about your act to know how it would work in the context of the entire showcase.  The video should include your whole act, including starting and ending positions, should be filmed from an angle where all parts, performers, and equipment in the piece can be seen, and should be from a single runthrough of the piece (either in performance or rehearsal) and not edited together from multiple recordings.

Do I need to bring my own equipment?

Youth are required to bring any equipment and rigging specific to your piece unless you have specified that you need AYCO to provide it in the application. If you are bringing aerial equipment it will be inspected by the rigger working on that particular show to ensure it is safe for the venue.

Do I need to provide my own music, costume, and any props?

All pieces must provide their own music, costumes, and props. Music and costume must be family friendly and rated PG. Please ensure that you have listened to the words of your music and practiced numerous times with your costume to ensure that both are appropriate for a family audience.

Do I need a chaperone for any of the showcases?

Each youth under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone (a coach or guardian) who knows the act that will be performed and who can advocate and look out for the health and safety of the performer.  In the case of aerial acts, this person must also be able to serve as a spotter.  Chaperones must be indicated on the performance application, as we will be issuing passes to those individuals. Access to the backstage area will be restricted and only those individuals will be able to enter with performers.  This is to insure the safety of our Youth Artists.  Chaperones must register for the AYCO Youth Festival separately from their youth.  Festival registration can be found on AYCO’s website.

How is it decided which acts are selected? Is skill level considered in the selection process?

Performers of ALL SKILL LEVELS in all circus disciplines are encouraged to apply, and acts will not be selected based on skill level.  We will be looking for acts that are complete, polished performances at whatever skill level the performers have achieved.  We will work with organizations and individuals submitting multiple acts to select the act that will best represent them and best serve the show as a whole.

I made a mistake on my Showcase Application or have updated information since I submitted my act.  Should I resubmit my application?

No, you do not need to resubmit your application.  If any changes or updates need to be made to your application, please contact polly@americanyouthcircus.org.