When Katie Herrmann and Kayla Mathieu started Cirka Performance Arts in 2021, they hoped to bring exciting and unique entertainment to events, festivals, and more.
“It’s really a memorable experience, and it’s something where it’s giving that Vegas shock factor to your events or giving something that people are truly going to remember,” said Herrmann.
The pair first became interested in aerial arts about five years ago. Herrmann had been a gymnast all her life, and Mathieu had no experience. They say they each attended classes and eventually felt confident enough to begin performing.
Aerial arts involve working with long, hanging silks, climbing high, and maneuvering into complex twists and poses that Mathieu says often make viewers gasp in anticipation. They do this all while ensuring their safety.
Another piece of aerial equipment is the lyra hoop, which is either suspended from an above rig or is freestanding on top of a pole (lollipop lyra).
“We started doing performances with our gym, but performing wasn’t really where they wanted to go with their program,” said Herrmann. “We decided we wanted to get out into the community a little more. That’s how we came up with Cirka and started doing performances.”
Ashley Premer // Aerial & Sideshow Performer
Katie Herrmann // Co-Owner & Aerial Performer
Kayla Mathieu // Co-Owner & Aerial Performer
Keri Domangue // Hula Hoop & Fire Performer
Joey Colombi // Juggling Performer
Since Cirka began, they have been part of many events including corporate events, festivals, parties, or one-off restaurant and business performances.
“We have three core aerial performers, a juggler, and a hoop/fire performer,” said Herrmann.
When booking different performers, Herrmann says Cirka will work with clients to bundle packages for a better deal. Prices vary depending on the desired performers, the timeline, and the space.
“There are so many people in our community that have such amazing talents, but they don’t know who to talk to to get out there to perform. Cirka is also just trying to get these people together and have a community for us as well.” – KAYLA MATHIEU
“We can go indoors or outdoors. Outdoors we have our own rigs that we can put up and take down. It takes about 15 minutes. From our rig, we’ve got aerial silks and our lyra,” said Mathieu.
Herrmann added, “That goes up to 20 feet, and we’re insured up to 30. When there are places like The District and the Sioux Falls Convention Center [with support rafters], we can go up higher.”
Some of the booking options include Ambient Event Performance, Single Performance Acts, Circus Variety Shows, and Perform and Play Parties.
Perform & Play Events
For a smaller event like birthdays, gender reveals, and more, book a Perform and Play Party. Once they are set up, the performers will go through a short routine, and then offer the chance for the event guests to learn some tricks on the equipment.
“We’re focusing on performances now, but this is accessible to anyone. I think that people look at this as, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ We also want to show that you can be the one doing this amazing thing. Both of us started this as adults,” said Herrmann.
As Cirka grows, they are planning to offer an aerial arts learning experience online through video courses in the near future.
At one of their recent performances, Herrmann and Mathieu were happy to offer me and a few others a chance at feeling the confidence of aerial arts.
First, they showed how to get safely into the lyra hoop before walking through different poses like Man on the Moon, Lady on the Moon, and more.
Then they climbed up to switch the lyra for aerial silks before teaching some basic moves to make me more comfortable. After I failed to go upside down the first way, they tied a knot into the silks and showed a simpler way.
“This is something that we are bringing to the community that you would have to travel to see. Now you don’t have to travel. You can see us around town.” – KAYLA MATHIEU
The last move was an Angel Drop, and it gave a burst of adrenaline and terrified me at the same time. After pulling myself up into a modified seat on the silks, I had to lean forward, and trust my weight and the silks. The Angel Drop is a basic spin that looks similar to a front flip, taking the performer 360° and back to the ground to land on their feet.
Though I didn’t think my mild fear of heights would let me, I completed the drop.
“We think it’s a great workout experience for people of all ages. It’s low impact even though you’re in the air and doing scary things. It can help you become so much more confident and overcome a lot of fears,” said Herrmann.
It was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever done before, and my sore body in the following days reminded me that it was definitely a full-body workout.
“What’s gotten us this far is passion for it and the love of the sport, knowing that this is something that we want to continue sharing with people. To grow that in our community is fantastic,” said Herrmann.
For more information, visit CIRKAPERFORM.COM.