The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

A Cirque Night Out, a night to remember 

The bright blue lights shining down on the back wall of the stage surrounding the words “15-year celebration” in white letters caught the attention of everyone once they walked into the Dvorak Concert Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center. 

The soft music filled the air and the dim lights that lined aisles set and hung above the crowd the mood as guests began to make their way to their seats. Once the lights faded to black, the spotlights turned on and the audience’s chatter became a whisper it was time to witness an experience like no other. 

After a brief introduction, the performance began. 

Boston Circus Guild finish off their A Cirque Night Out show in Doudna Fine Arts Center Saturday night. (Ashanti Thomas)

As a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Doudna Fine Art Center the Boston Circus Guild, BCG presented “A Cirque Night Out” on Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

“Join us for A Cirque Night Out as for one night the Dvorak Concert Hall transforms into Club Doudna, a place where a simple night of revelry can take unexpected twists, and astonishing turns and even bring you to exciting new heights,“ read the performance description. 

Although the Boston Circus Guild is an organization of over 50 members, five performers came out to Charleston and took over the stage.  

Aerial performer Ellen Waylon, contortionist and hair-hanging performer Jenna Ciotta, chair balancing artist Morgan Oldham, Cyr Wheel, and aerial pole artist Alex Oliva, and juggling and duo hand-balancing performer Roger May. 

Artist Alex Jackson was missing from attendance was Boston-based circus.

The night began with a dance done by all the performers to the instrumental version of the song Feeling Good by Michael Bublé. The dance highlighted their flexibility and strength with splits, spins and unique dance moves done with little to no effort. 

The show then held individual performances that incorporated acrobatics, contact juggling, aerial acts, a Cyr wheel and specialty skills using a suspended pole. 

The performance had the audience on the edge of their seats. Whether it was the chair balancing act by Oldham where she placed three chairs on top of each other and did a toe touch while in a handstand, or moments from the aerial performance when Waylonis wrapped herself in the purple nylon fabric high in the air to then drop herself dramatically from the sky and land floating feet away from the stage floor. 

Morgan Oldham hand balances on top of chairs as part of her A Cirque Night Out performance. (Ashanti Thomas)

The strength and dedication to the craft was a feeling that could be felt by all. When Oliva took the stage, he had the crowd’s undivided attention.

His first performance included a Cyr Wheel, which is a large steel of aluminum ring that is about four to six inches taller than the performer using it. The way Oliva spun around with the ring, it seemed as though he and the wheel were connected as one, cascading across the floor in unison as one entity.

Circus and movement artist Alex Oliva performs with the Cyr wheel as a apart of the Cirque Night Out show. (Ashanti Thomas)

The pair were so in sync that at one point Oliva let go of the ring and began to dance on by himself while letting the ring spin freely on its own. Just as it was about to hit the floor, he grabbed it and hopped back inside as if he had never left. 

A very shocking performance came from Ciotta as her aerial performance was done with nothing more than her hair. Instead of flying around on a rope or spinning hands free on a suspended pole, Ciotta attached a clip to her hair, which was in a high ponytail, and began to ascend and descend while spinning and soaring through the air.  

With the assistance of Oliva, who would pull the string attached to Ciotta’s hair, she began to twirl and spin like a ballet dancer in a music box. Starting with a low roll close to the ground to her spinning in mid-air holding both legs and moving with the freedom of the wind. As her set ended, she spun vigorously in a corkscrew until he gently hit the ground. 

Oldham and Waylonis performed a duo aerial ensemble with an extraordinarily long purple nylon or polyester fabric. They each performed one by one with the purple fabric showing off their moves such as completing a spit in mid-air or hanging upside down by only their feet.  

Ellen Waylon and Morgan Oldham hold hands with each other while doing duo silks at A Cirque Night Out. (Ashanti Thomas)

The part of the ensemble that took everyone by surprise was Waylon flipping upside down and taking Oldham by the hand. They were then lifted in the air and spun around by two other members 

“A Cirque Night Out” was a night to remember and a treat to all in attendance. 

The energy expressed in the room by the BCG performers was felt everywhere by the whole crowd  

“The whole performance was beautiful and fun, and it was more the energy of the performers that really caught the vibe for me. It wasn’t any one thing, it was just the energy, everything overall,” said William Techau, an audience member. 

Community member Kathy Davis expressed her gratitude towards Eastern for allowing shows like this to be open to Charleston. 

“We’re so fortunate to have the kind of programming that Eastern brings here and that we wish more people would take advantage of it,” Davis said.   

Eastern’s alumni board of directors’ member, community member, and musician Laura Seberson shared her thoughts on what she hopes would come from the event 

“I would like to see more people here,” Seberson said. “Come out to the Doudna and look at our shows that we’re gonna have this fall and spring, tickets are cheap, its good entertainment, and your friends are here, you’d be surprised.”


Alexis Moore-Jones can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]


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About the Contributors
Alexis Moore-Jones
Alexis Moore-Jones, Feature Reporter
Alexis Moore-Jones is a senior broadcast journalism major. This is her first year at The News.
Ashanti Thomas
Ashanti Thomas, Photographer
Ashanti Thomas is a senior digital media major. She previously served as photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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