June 1 – 3
Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus presents
PARADISE: Return to Aja
Brava Theater Center
$15-45 sliding scale online
$20-45 sliding scale at the door
Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus’ 5th annual show as part of the National Queer Arts Festival blends aerial and acrobatic dance with vogue, hip hop and film all developed by a stellar cast of queer and trans performing artists of color. In PARADISE: Return to Aja, the epic journey of a fallen Angel continues as her magical world faces impending danger from an unseen force.
PARADISE is co-produced by India Davis and Indi McCasey, directed by Davis and Gabriel Christian and features Davis alongside former Cirque du Soleil performer Marshall Jarreau and Honey Mahogany from RuPaul’s drag in addition to local artists Kiebpoli Calnek, Brandon Kazen-Maddox, The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins, and Saturn Rising.
This event is sponsored by Brava Theater and Queer Cultural Center with generous support from the San Francisco Arts Council, California Arts Council, Astraea Foundation, Horizons Foundation, Left Tilt, and Dancers’ Group CA$H Grant.
Artistic Director & Co-Founder
India Sky Davis is a choreographer, acrobat, aerialist and pole dancer. Her work combines physical feats with multidisciplinary art forms to illustrate the breadth of her inspirations.
Skilled in moving image and writing, her visionary work has been shown both nationwide and internationally and is guided by themes of multi-dimensionality, spirit, and the link between legacy, timelessness and the body. India lives in Oakland, CA and teaches aerial, acrobatic and pole classes, including classes specifically for Queer and Trans People of Color. indiaskydavis.com
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Indi McCasey believes in the power of the arts as a catalyst for social change. They have pursued community-building strategies in and through the arts with the organizations Fine Arts for Children and Teens, Solace, Streetside Stories, Urbano Project, Wise Fool New Mexico and Destiny Arts Center. After co-founding two nationally touring performance ensembles, Indi co-created Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus, an annual showcase as part of the National Queer Arts Festival. They facilitate arts-based professional development trainings for educators as a faculty member of the Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program and Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom. Indi holds an Ed.M in Artsin Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a former artist-in-residence at Harvard’s Project Zero, and is the recipient of the 2013 Endeavor Foundation for the Arts Artist Award. indimccasey.com
Featured Artist Bios
Kiebpoli Calnek is a queer black creative from NYC focused on nuanced performance as an actor, aerialist, and dancer seeped in poetic and Diaspora elements. Their social enterprise, Black*Acrobat, produces diverse shows aimed at telling stories of and for fringe communities accomplishing the unexpected by acknowledging and celebrating authentic visions, voices and viewpoints through collaboration. Kiebpoli’s works received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astraea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. They are a graduate of CCNY, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and of Actors’ Equity Association. Kiebpoli.com
Toni Cannon made his debut on the stage five years ago with Topsy-Turvy Queer Circus, and loved every moment of it. He has worked on other projects such as Acrosanct in their show This is Acrosanct, Body Waves, and America’s Got Talent finalist Abigail Baird with her company Aerial Animations. He loves acrobatics, and recently found a new love for Chinese Pole. He really finds the challenge of performing and training thrilling, and would like to thank his family and friends for their support over the years.
Antoinette Chen See draws on extensive training in dance, theatre, and circus arts to embody her Jamaican and queer histories. A performer from the age of 6, she began her circus arts training in 2008, at Wise Fool New Mexico. In 2013, she found a home in Body Waves, the acrobatic dance collective in Oakland which she co-founded. When not building, remodeling, and landscaping with her queer carpentry company, she is throwing Ships In The Night, organizing for Black Lives and Liberation, and hanging hard with Chosen and Given Fam.
Gabriel Christian, t(he)y/(t)him, is an interdisciplinary performance-centric artist and teacher. They hold a BA in Theatre Studies from Yale and their work reifies queer desire, genderfluidity (or “juicyness”) and black resilience. They’ve mounted and participated in works at Counterpulse, SOMArts, CTRL+SHIFT Gallery, Eureka Theater, Solespace, and Stanford University. Current projects include exploring queerness in faith at a three-month residency at Finnish Brotherhood Hall and recently concluded the first part of Black Presence/Black Residue (www.blackpresence.xyz), a live digitized meditation on presence through daily “flawful” collaborations with twenty-eight different Black and Brown artists (India Sky Davis included)!
Marshall Jarreau is a dancer and aerialist whose credits include Cirque Du Soleil, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and So You Think You Can Dance. In 2013 he was Pole Dance Champion at the Pole Expo in Las Vegas. He teaches regularly at San Antonio Dance Academy and each summer at the Southern Vermont Dance Festival. Marshall is also a certified massage therapist and is currently working toward a bachelor degree in electrical engineering.
Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a Grandchild of Deaf Adults (GODA) and is a native user of American Sign Language (ASL). He has worked as both a professional acrobat and American Sign Language interpreter in the Bay Area since 2011. In the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year, Brandon will be attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts to pursue a Master’s degree in Dance and New Media. He is very excited to represent Mercury the Messenger in this year’s iteration of PARADISE: Return to Aja, and is very proud to pass along ASL as the language of our ancestors. Enjoy the show!
The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins is a seamstress, milliner, jewelry designer, burlesque dancer, performance artist, film-maker, stand-up comedian, actor, stylist, chef and pop-up restaurateur. Basically, the only thing she don’t do is bull$hit. Find out more at www.VaginaJenkins.com
Chrystia Cabral aka SPELLLING is an Oakland based experimental musician and multimedia artist. Freak faith folk. Vibrations of brown queer spirituality, intimacy and enlightenment.