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SANCA Performer Spotlight

SANCA Performer Spotlight

Sydney Petersen — SANCA Youth Performance Company

Sydney Petersen - CloudswingMy name is Sydney Petersen, and I have been part of the SANCA community for eight years. SANCA has been one of the biggest and most influential parts of my life. From physical skill and strength to lifelong experiences, I have been enlightened by the opportunities and especially by the people. 

Circus class was first introduced to me by my mother when busying me with activities to do over the summer. After being immersed in a wide variety of skills and acrobatics, I decided to pursue aerial arts. Since then, I have taken aerial classes taught by several experienced and encouraging coaches. One of the most influential coaches I have had the pleasure to work with is Kari Podgorski. She has performed with Circus Contraption and Teatro ZinZanni and has toured both nationally and internationally. Kari has inspired me with her motion and grace. Aerial classes aren’t the only field SANCA’s talented coaches teach in. I have had numerous excellent experiences in acrobatics, tumbling, and more. The call of SANCA’s warm community doesn’t just attract Seattleites—students from Oberlin College in Ohio, of which many have become inspirational coaches, visit each the year. We have hosted several of these students in our home. Also, many international performers have found SANCA as a haven and training ground. After several years of taking classes, I was invited to join the Youth Performance Company, which was directed at that time by the Company founder, the amazing Crystal Campbell, and is now directed by the fabulous Nikolai Pirak and Erica Rubinstein. 

Joining the Youth Performance Company has been the biggest change of my life, not to mention the most positive. In my fifth year in the Company, I have realized so many of the positive attributes of a person that can come from performing in front of an audience. I believe performing has given me self-confidence, energy, and a grace that goes with holding myself on stage. Whether it is performing for a charity event, tumbling on panel mats outdoors, or being in full costume and make-up under the lights, I feel inspired to do my best, and make people happy. Being in the final product of a show isn’t the only thing that has helped me grow, however. The creative and constructive stages offer an opportunity for me to express and voice my ideas. I have choreographed several of my own acts, as well as provided feedback for characters and skills of others. If I ever need a hand with anything, support is offered at every step of the way. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the Youth Performance Company—we have had numerous workshops and guests who have taught me an incredible amount about character, execution of skill, and performance. The best part of having all of these amazing opportunities is being able to share them with people who I enjoy. The friendships I have made here have helped me in my transition to high school. However, it does come time to leave, something two of our graduating members will go through this summer. 

In my experience at SANCA, there has always been a strong sense of community. The message SANCA sends out is extremely positive, and to quote the founder, Jo Montgomery, it is “a place where people feel like they’re home.”