MA Candidate: Title: Circus Studies
Nick Zelle is a circus artist and writer from Minneapolis whose concentration at Gallatin will center around contemporary circus as both a subject of and a vehicle for critical inquiry. He views the physicality of circus as an entry point into deeper embodied consciousness, radical surrender, and experimentation and play, and is curious about the insights and possibilities that arise in interdisciplinary dialogues between the realms of circus, philosophy, writing, and embodied activism. By applying analytical frames to the study of circus cultures, he hopes to trace forms of subversion and collective imagination that might inform how we live and create through the existential perils of this century. Nick’s interest in the emergent social dimensions of artistic work and his dedication to anti-racist culture-building animate questions about policy and arts infrastructure that he plans to continue unraveling throughout his time at Gallatin. Having studied aerial movement at l’École de cirque de Québec, Nick has created and performed internationally and has taught circus disciplines in a variety of recreational studios and socially-engaged arts education programs. Most recently, he developed and taught a curriculum for Circus Performance at the University of Minnesota. As a founding member of Cirkus Syd, Nick collaborates with an international group of artists, academics, and educators to foster space for cross-cultural dialogues around contemporary circus. He holds a BA in Comparative Literature from Middlebury College.