workshops

about shannon mckenna

Shannon McKenna was never a dancer, never a gymnast, but one hell of a tree climber.

She earned her B.F.A. from NYU with a concentration in physical theatre and decided the summer after college, without much idea of what it meant, to become a circus artist. She packed up her life in a suitcase and traveled the globe in search of the best coaches to teach her and put her work on any stage she could.

Her performance work has spanned from traditional shows in large arenas to intimate contemporary pieces in small black box theatres. She performs as a solo artist, a part of artistic duos, and ensembles. Career highlights being a magician’s assistant in Portugal, a post-food poisoning silks act in the German show WET, and hanging underneath a motorcycle on a tight wire with the Flying Espanas.

As a coach, Shannon is known for making aerial technique approachable and fun, and she is driven by the belief that artists at any stage in their aerial journey have a valuable creative capacity to share. She is widely sought after to teach workshops all over the world.

In 2018, Shannon launched The Artist Athlete Podcast which contains interviews with professionals in the circus industry. It is available on Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and iTunes. She currently lives in Montreal with her cats Puppy and Hervé.

workshops
with shannon mckenna

saturday, october 22

dance straps
3:00 – 5:00 pm

This workshop explores spinning, twisting, turning, and flipping using aerial straps. Going from the ground to the air and back again, this workshop explores movement, partnering, and flight!
 
prerequisites 
30 second straight arm hang on fabric or rope, 3 bent arm inversions on any apparatus
 
dancing your drops (fabric)
5:30 – 7:30 pm
 
As aerialists, we seek control over our bodies at every moment we are in the air. When we are climbing and posing, this control is relatively easy to master. However, it gets more complicated when we begin to look at “drops.” This workshop looks at several basic drops which cause us to rotate forward, backwards, and sideways. We will explore how the wrap, the body positioning in the set up, and the body positioning during the drop can change the speed, shape, and aesthetic quality of the skill. This is a fun workshop for those who are looking to clean up their drops as well as add their own dramatic flair to the movement!
 
prerequisites 
Must be able to cleanly invert and hold oneself upside down in the air.
 
sunday, october 23
 
knot tying with style (fabric)
3:00 – 5:00 pm
 
Never get stuck again! This workshop breaks down the basic components of “fabric theory” to explain how different wraps and drops work in the air. Using sequences and puzzles, we will play with different and surprising entrances and exits to popular skills. Great for anyone who wants to understand WHY fabric works, build more vocabulary, or pick up new sequences quickly.
 
prerequisites 
Must be working on inversions in the air and confident with inversions on the ground.
 
quarantine-ography (fabric)
5:30 – 7:30 pm
 
For two years, Shannon was trapped in Montreal with nothing to do except invent for hours on end. This workshop is full of her favourite sequences, transitions, and tricks from that time. It has a TON of material the world has never seen and will surely boggle your mind.
 
prerequisites 
A constant and consistent aerial silks practice, 3 bent arm inversions in the air, clean cross back straddle.