A career worth running away for

Tania MacWilliam

March 17, 2011

*PDF of newspaper article and photographs here 

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to run away and join the circus just ask Morgan Skowronski.

It was almost five years ago when the 29-year-old, known socially and professionally as “Mo Bot,” packed up her life in Edmonton and moved to Toronto.

The circus performer, who had been dabbling in “flow arts” while attending the University of Alberta, felt drawn to Toronto because of its eclectic performance art scene.

Included in Skowronski’s circus repertoire is ground hooping, aeriel hooping, spinning fire hoops, poi and silks. Out of all the performance tools she uses, Skowronski enjoys hoops the most.

“It’s about feeling good in your body,” she said. “It turns on a light in a corner you didn’t know existed.”

Hooping is about the mind body connection and can be used as a form of meditation.

“It’s like the yoga mindset, that where you are now is perfect,” said Skowronski.

“Anyone can hoop. There is no competition, no judging,” she said. “At first you think I’m so shy, so bad, so horrible.”

However, it’s not about becoming performance perfect, said Skowronski. “There are no levels.”

And hooping is a great way to meet new people.

“Spinning with others is way better than by yourself,” she said. “You don’t grow as much [spinning alone].”

Shortly after moving to Toronto, she hooked up with New Model Circus Army, a social group who specializes in fire manipulation. “I lit up for the first time in a back alley in the snow,” she recalled.

She had only been in Toronto for about five months when she got the chance to perform for an audience for the first time at the Festival of Lights.

“New Model Circus Army never intended to become a performance troupe,” she said. “It just happened by accident.”

They were just looking for a way to share their love of circus performing by making it more accessible. That was when Circus Alchemy was born.

Circus Alchemy, co-founded by Skowronski, is a performance troupe made up of members of various social circus groups who were looking to perform professionally.

“We were a collection of performers who wanted to explore performance opportunities,” said Skowronski.

Since she began hooping professionally she has appeared on the television show Party Mamas and has performed at a summer festival in Bahrain. She has also performed at corporate retreats, weddings and bachelorette parties.

Skowronski is organizing a retreat in Orangeville over the Canada Day weekend. In Flow Festival will offer workshops in hooping, acro-yoga and the opportunity to connect with people in the circus community. For more information go to inflowfestival.com.


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