Acrobatic Conundrum creates technically rigorous, ensemble-based circus shows that seek to contribute to a more courageous and connected world.
Acrobatic Conundrum, Seattle's premier contemporary circus arts company, creates performances that amaze and inspire audiences. Founded in 2012 by Artistic Director Terry Crane, the company blends virtuosic circus skill, dance and physical theater to create work that is poetic, a little absurd, and deeply relatable. Acrobatic Conundrum has appeared nationally and internationally at such venues as New York City’s SummerStage, the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Vancouver CircusFest, TEDxRainier, and The Backstreet Festival in Alexandria, Egypt. The company is a 2015 and 2017 recipient of the City of Seattle’s CityArtist Projects Award.
Terry Crane, Artistic Director and Co-founder
Terry Crane surrendered to restless urges that led him to walk calmly away with the circus at the tender age of 20. With a degree in dance from Oberlin College, his circus journey led him to the San Francisco Circus Center, the Montreal National Circus School, and the Beijing International Acrobatics School. A veteran of the big top and the stage, he has performed in countless countries for various companies, including Teatro Zinzanni, les 7 Doigts de la Main, and Circus Monti. Terry is delighted to share his love of rope technique, circus creation, and collaboration via workshops across the globe. As a director, Terry is on a relentless quest to tell true fictions, contradict human isolation, and portray paradox.
Susie Williams, Managing Director
Susie is in love with performing arts and is thrilled to have been a performer, director, teacher and producer in both circus and traditional theater. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s theater program and was a Fellow in the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Professional Development Program. Producing credits include: Bright Ideas’ Aerial Salons, migrations, Landscrapes and Discord and the award winning Roundhaus video Hammertime. As a performer, Susie appeared with the Poemas, the High Flying Pages, Lisa's Bright Ideas, Built 4 Collapse and in Kristin Geneve Young’s migrations. Susie taught aerial arts at Aerial Arts NYC, STREB, TSNY, and as an adjunct professor at Pace University. With an understanding that art is a vital part of society, she strives to produce work that represents the typically underrepresented individuals and art forms.
Melissa K. Knowles, Artist
Melissa Knowles is "professionally tiny" and can often be found hiding in your locker or suitcase or being thrown high into the air by pretty much anyone. She has toured across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia performing with C!RCA, Nimble Arts, Aerial Angels, Infinity Circus Productions, Boston Circus Guild, and Wunderle's Big Top Adventures. Melissa has received degrees in Art and Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2004, completed the Professional Training Program at New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) in Brattleboro, VT in 2010, attended several rigging, fabric, and trapeze teacher training workshops, and is certified in Functional Range Conditioning. She focuses her teaching on active flexibility/mobility, hand-balancing, and partner acrobatics.
"Art and expression allow us to find new, beautiful, and often vulnerable ways to grow and create positive change in the world. I think circus creates this through an emphasis on community verses competition. I have found teaching and performing circus to be more empowering than traditional sports or art and I have a passion for teaching students how to use their bodies and express themselves in new ways."
Her favorite thing about teaching and performing circus is the way it empowers people to do things they always thought impossible, but had just never tried. She also likes really dark chocolate.
Xochitl Sosa, Artist
Xochitl Sosa is an Oakland based aerial performer and instructor. She is a graduate of the New England Center for Circus Arts’ (NECCA) Pro-Track Program, with a concentration in dance and duo trapeze. In addition to NECCA, she has trained in Montreal with renowned coaches from Cirque du Soleil and the National Circus School. She performs her unique style of dance trapeze around the US and Mexico in festivals, cabarets, and most recently on a national tour with contemporary circus company, Acrobatic Conundrum. Xochitl has contributed to the evolution of American circus by helping to establish Sky Candy, an aerial school in Austin, Texas. She is an enthusiastic teacher; selected teaching experiences include: Kinetic Arts (Oakland, CA); San Francisco Circus Center (San Francisco, CA); the North American Circus Educators Conference; and Camp Winnarainbow, where she first fell in love with circus.
Cooper Stanton, Artist
Cooper Stanton is a multi-disciplinary artist whose greatest joys are expressing himself through Dance, Music, Theatre, and Acrobatics. He grew up in Massachusetts with his four siblings, training and performing throughout New England. He's a 2014 graduate of The National Circus School of Montreal, where he specialized in Swinging Trapeze and Aerial Tissu. Cooper has performed in artistic creations and theatrical productions across the U.S. and abroad. He has been working as an artistic consultant on two ongoing projects; Particle # B by Kerttu Pussinen, and This Is Not A Test by Aaron Marquise. Most recently, he appeared in the North Carolina Theatre's production of Beauty and the Beast.
Ty Vennewitz, Artist
Ty, short for Tyrannosaurus, tall by any other measure grew up in the Pacific Northwest. As a child he rode anything with wheels and occupied his hands with juggling props. As an adult he rides a giant wheel, spinning and cartwheeling in a metal ring (Cyr wheel), and occupies his hands with juggling props. In the interim he graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Dance, performed in the Portland Opera, A-Wol Dance Collective and a dental commercial as a ballet-dancing-molar. Ty’s obsession with circus lured him across the continent to the National Circus School (ENC) in Montreal, where he donned the world’s smallest mask, a red nose, and studied clowning. . . seriously. He has performed for Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, Creativiva and numerous others. He is currently a member of the Acrobatic Conundrum, directing and acting in new work for Levity Aerial Troupe, teaching classes at Le Cirque Centre and performing his solo varieTy show Cirque Love Love. When he’s not juggling engagements you can find him wheeling in the streets, a boyish grin on his face.
Frequent and Past Collaborators
Annika Frodi-Lundgren, Carey Cramer, Lauren Joy Herley, Saar Rombout, Caterina Albani, Jimmy Ortiz Chinchilla, Erica Rubinstein, Laura Miller, Jaron Hollander, Nicki Miller, Scotty Dont, Jacki Ward Kehrwald, Nicolo Kehrwald, Anna Thomas-Henry, Alex Allan, Wendy Allen, Una Bennett, Zora Blade, Tanya Brno, Marta Brown, Arne Bystrom, Emma Curtiss, Sol Marie Doran, Joselynn Engstrom, Tyler Ferraro, Tom Hanna, Nick Harden, Jonah Katz, Faeble Kievman, Kari Jay Hunter, Leah Jones, Nick Lowery, Poki McCorkle, Sommer Panage, Laurie Rogers, Elizabeth Rose, Jonathan Rose, Ellie Rossi, Noa Schnitzer, Will Smith, Justin Therrien, Maddie Ward, Elizabeth Klob, KT Niehoff, The Tres Pesos, Nicole Faubert, Janet McAlpin, Katheryn Reed, Krin Haglund
photo by Adam Rubinstein