For Immediate Release
Contact: Aaron [email protected]
TROY (5/23/16) — A Montreal-trained circus artist has established the region’s only professional touring contemporary circus company, headquartered in Troy, N.Y.
“Troy has an excitement and a synergy unlike anywhere else in upstate New York,” said Executive Artistic Director Aaron M. Marquise, 24, of Marquise Productions. “We have already demonstrated that there is audience support here for this style of entertainment.”
Marquise wowed hundreds of audience members last winter with his original circus production, “Running,” staring an international cast and performed in South Troy’s awesome gasholder building without heat during painfully frigid temperatures.
Now Marquise, a professionally trained clown and graduate of The National Circus School in Montreal, returns to the gasholder in warmer weather with another original contemporary circus production titled, YOL.
“This is not the circus I think most American audiences are used to. They’ve most likely seen ‘Ringling Bros.’ big top circus. Some might have even seen ‘Cirque du Soleil,’” Marquise said. “But I want to bring the audience in a different direction and push boundaries, or at least the preconceived definition of circus here in the states. So far that goal has been well received.”
The company does not use animals but puts the focus on the incredible capabilities of the human body demonstrated through acrobatics, juggling, and more. The venues, too, are smaller and more intimate than the typical American arena productions where large-scale circus normally occurs.
“There is a well-established history and culture for this style of circus in Europe that isn’t as strong here in the states,” Marquise said. “But the timing couldn’t be better to start a contemporary circus company in Troy. At the same time that this small city is having a renaissance, small contemporary circus is undergoing a renaissance of its own all across the U.S.”
The title of the Marquise’s latest production is YOL, which means “road” or “way” in Turkish. YOL is a mixture of circus and theater that tells the story of one girl on a mystical journey through the afterlife, exploring a path formed by her own curiosity and imagination.
“YOL is about this idea of The Journey or the road we’re going to take in the afterlife,” Marquise said. “This is not a linear story, from A to B, but rather a series of tableaux and images that audiences will walk away from with their own understanding of what they think they saw. I am drawing some inspiration from the beautiful imagery in ‘What Dreams May Come,’ where the afterworld was connected to this life through a painting.”
The seven-member cast of YOL features artists from Quebec, New York City and the Capital Region specializing in music, dance, handstands, juggling, unicycling and acting.
Niskayuna native Shayna Golub stars as the main character in YOL. The 22-year-old dancer graduated from Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Penn., this morning and immediately headed to Troy to begin rehearsals later today.
“I’m a ballerina who is never going to be a ballerina, but the technique has served me well by helping me with all of the other different styles of dance I’ve trained in,” said Golub who went to school to major in dance. “While at school I discovered aerial acrobatics and said ‘Hey this is really cool.’ Then my friend decided to start a circus and I started to think this is something I’d like to do for the rest of my life!”
This autumn, Golub will continue her education at NECCA, the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt. She says her parents are cautiously supportive of her career choice.
“They get a little nervous when they see me doing these dangerous looking things 30 feet up in the air,” Golub said. “But the more they see my performances the more familiar and comfortable they become with it. It’s not as scary as it seems.”
Golub’s performance in YOL will be dance only without aerial work.
The show also features Kristoph DiMaria, a musical clown with local roots. Two years ago, after hitchhiking across the country, DiMaria moved back to Troy, where he was born, and discovered himself as “Ragliacci.” Since then he has collaborated on as many creative efforts as he can in the city. In addition to clowning, he will be composing original music and orchestrating intriguing sounds from across the world for YOL.
“I’m really glad this is happening in Troy and that Aaron is drawing talent from around the world to work with homegrown artists here,” DiMaria said.
“There are now dozens of French circus artists who know of the City of Troy,” Marquise said, amused. “It’s crazy.”
In addition to four performances at the Troy Gas Light Company Gasholder, the circus company will bring the show to the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, The Round Lake Auditorium in Round Lake, PS 21 in Chatham, and the GE Theater in Proctors in Schenectady.
Marquise said the show will run somewhere between 75 and 90 minutes. The cast will be crafting and fine tuning the scenes starting today as they begin rehearsal and a three-week residency at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century in Chatham, N.Y.
This unique show will be stimulating and satisfying for all ages, Marquise said.
* Tickets: Adult $20; Students & Seniors $15; Kids Under Age 12 – $10; Age 5 & younger are free on lap of adult Purchase at the door or online at: www.marquiseproductions.com
Marquise is finishing an eight-week SEED (Small Enterprise Economic Development) program at University at Albany Small Business Development Center. The program is designed to give new business owners the skills and resources to secure funding and manage a successful company.
To download a YOL poster and high resolution publicity images of Marquise’s previous circus productions in the gasholder, visit the following dropbox link (use Photo credit upon publication)
Aaron Marquise was born and raised in Round Lake, N.Y. He spent his senior year of high school as an intern at the former New York State Theater Institute in Troy, N.Y. He studied musical theater with a minor in playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City but he dropped out to enroll as a clown major at the prestigious National Circus School in Montreal, Canada. He graduated there in June 2015. Since joining the Circus world Aaron has performed in Quebec, France, and most recently in Switzerland where he performed with the acclaimed Circus Monti during a six-month tour.
The first venue on the Capital Region tour of YOL is the Troy Gasholder. Built in 1873, the Troy Gas Light Company Gasholder building is one of only a handful of such structures remaining in the U.S. The imposing circular brick building once housed a telescoping iron storage tank for coal gas. The tank has been removed, creating a cavernous space and dirt floor beneath the tin roof. The result, Marquise said, is that the building now resembles something very much like the circus buildings he observed while performing in France.
“When I saw that building my jaw dropped and said ‘I have to see inside,’” Marquise said. “When I saw inside, it confirmed my belief that it is a circus building. It continues to inspire me.”
Though it never actually was a circus building, the gasholder was owned and used for storage by the “OC Buck Shows,” a mid-century traveling circus in the region. A sign for the OC Buck Shows hangs above the office of Bill Sage, whose Sage Brothers Painting Company purchased the gasholder from OC Buck in 1969 and uses it to store lifts and other equipment.
“We do the best we can to keep up this building. We know it’s one-of-a-kind,” Sage said. “Most everybody who walks in there says ‘wow,’ ‘awesome’… words to that effect. I’m still impressed by it.”
Over the past 45 years, the company has allowed the space to be used for special dance and music performances as a way to give back to the community. Sage’s son Kevin Sage is helping Marquise with the logistics of setting up the space, rigging, etc. and plays a big part behind the scenes.
“Everybody should take the opportunity to see and experience this building,” said Michael Barrett, executive director of the Mohawk Hudson Industrial Gateway. “This type of building is becoming endangered in America, and Troy is very lucky to have one in good condition.”
Contact: Aaron Marquise, [email protected]