FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 3, 2010
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
Undergraduate and graduate theater students collaborate on circus performance
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women students recently received a crash course in physical theater which culminated in a circus performance of their own.
In less than five days, with only a couple of hours devoted to practice each day, the students found themselves as featured acts spinning plates and juggling tennis balls in Columbus’ own Possum Town Circus.
The students were center stage with Ben Sota, who is in MUW’s master of fine arts program that is offered in conjunction with the Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Sota, who is 29, founded his own company Zany Umbrella Circus at the age of 22 and has been a circus performer since the age of 15.
Sota also was the recipient of the prestigious Jacob Javits Fellowship award through the U.S. Department of Education.
During his visit, the MUW students were introduced to circus and physical theater, arts management and grant writing.
“It was really cool seeing their auditions so I could see their strengths and weaknesses,” he said, “They are really bright and it’s great to see how they think.”
The theater majors said their time spent with Sota was inspiring.
Senior Alyssa McElfresh said, “It’s been awesome having him here. We have learned about freedom with your body and not getting caught up with your consciousness—letting go and being able to play.”
Dustin Gibson, who also is a senior in the program, added, “We’ve heard about the program in Italy and it’s nice to see one of our fellow students. He brought his bag of tricks and it was fun and exciting to learn from him—encouraging for our students to continue their education, keep trying and keep going.
“It’s very rewarding to know that that I actually might be able to do this for the rest of my life.”