2023 Digital Program
SOLSTICE: a Winter Circus Experience
About the Company
A Circus Company Born out of the Pandemic
The Mission of the Activate Entertainment Project is to provide a meaningful, live experience that is accessible to the public. Our unique creative process empowers and brings together artists of all backgrounds and disciplines.
Founded in October of 2020 by Houston Odum, Activate Entertainment was created as a way to give work to performing artists and to keep performance art alive during the pandemic. The premise of the company was to take our performances to the audience rather than the audience coming to us.
Since then Activate has performed over 35 times across North Carolina reaching thousands of people. In the Summer of 2022, we developed a 45-minute performance for LeBauer Park in Greensboro Titled "Passages". This performance reached over 2,000 people in Greensboro and was presented for free to the public.
The idea for "Solstice" was born in July of 2022. In a collaborative partnership with the Winston-Salem Arts Council, "Solstice" marks a distinct step forward to Activate becoming a circus company known around NC and the Country.
Visit our website to learn more!
Meet The Team
Set & Costume Designer
Houston Odum founded Activate Entertainment amidst the Pandemic in October of 2020 as a way to give work to artists and Activate public spaces with contemporary circus. Houston used his previous experience in Circus Directing, Scenic Design, and Stage Management to begin Producing projects with Activate. His connections with Artists, both local and international, allow for the unique mix of work which Activate creates. As an Artistic Director, Houston believes in observation and collaboration as tools for creation. His process aims to empower artists of all disciplines and backgrounds and eliminate any imposed ideas. With a desire to bring emotionally charged work to the public, Houston hopes to inspire the next generation of creators and artists.
Amanda is thrilled to be the Lighting Designer and co-Show Creator for Solstice! Prior credits include: Amystika: The Secret Revealed (Assistant Lighting Designer), Winter Dance 2022 (Lighting Director/Designer), La Bestia (Lighting Designer). If you would like to see more of her work, check out: amandafiskdesign.com
LeDarius Parker - Choreographer
Sierra Rhoades, Kevin Flanagan, Liam Bradley - Banquine Choreography
Emmy Babyak - Technical Director
Mikey Diaz - Production Manager
Evan Hausthor - Production Stage Manager
Sydney Knowland - Backstage Manager
Camille Everett - Sound Designer
Elijah Thomas - Assistant Lighting Designer
Darian Horvath - Production Electrician & Programmer
Emma Thomas - Props Artisan
Majestic Scenic Co. - Painted Drop Artisan
Hannah Andrews - Assistant Costume Artisan
Meet the Cast
Movement has always been a part of Liam’s life. They discovered circus arts at 8 years old, and subsequently ricocheted around every circus space in Chicago. They graduated from Circadium - School of Contemporary Circus and became a founding member and co-divising artist with several different circus companies. Liam has been performing and teaching in various festivals, theatres, and events since 2014.
Toni is consistently working on finding new ways to express himself through acrobatics. He finds the challenge excitingly thrilling, and very relatable to life’s challenges. Toni started his circus career later in life however, that didn’t stop him from diving deep into his new found love and passion. The first years of his career was spent with Master Lu Yi learning disciplines like acrobatics, duo’s / trio’s acrobatics, and Chinese pole. His traveled quite a bit to perform and has performed in a variety of shows like Topsy Turvy Circus, Circus Bella, and The SF Aerial Festival.
Elly has a wonder for the world and is always trying to find ways to make it a happier, sparklier place. They had the privilege of going to circus school and graduated in 2022. They are a professional performer, coach, and the proud owner of 45 living house plants. Elly is very excited to share Solstice with you and maybe spark a sense of playfulness and nostalgia. Many thank you’s to Houston Odum for being an incredible director, the arts council for their support, and the whole cast for being absolute cool kids. If you’d like to stay in touch, reach out! @ellylouisecraig on Instagram
Kevin Flanagan is a classical guitarist turned circus artist from Bronxville, NY. His love of music started with his dad, who made sure that growing up sounded strange. He started taking guitar lessons at the age of ten and hasn't stopped playing since. Kevin followed his love of playing to Ithaca College where he first discovered circus which quickly became an obsession all its own. After graduation he went on to study at the Circadium School of Contemporary Circus. He graduated from Circadium in 2021 and since performed with Le Nouveau Sud, Activate Entertainment, ABCirque, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The International Jugglers Association, Symphoria, and many more. Kevin specializes in unicycle, partner acrobatics, and juggling.
LeDarius Gispi Parker aka Do Flamingo aka Ghost LionHeat is a freestyle and professional choreographer from Greensboro, NC. He is a member of the Lionheart Fam and East Blue Pirates All Styles Crew. He's movement is influenced by dance in other countries, along with Hip Hop and street dance culture. He travels up and down the East and West coast choreographing, training, and performing for a variety of things such as films, artist both national and international, competition dance teams, music videos, digital and live productions, as well as teach classes and workshops. As well as being a professional choreographer, he also is apart of the street dance culture on the east coast and west coast. He participates street dance scene events such as open style battles, street jams, and sessions. Instagram: https://instagram.com/gipsi_d_rose?igshid=NTA5ZTk1NTc=
Deborah Rosner began serious dance training at the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts. After graduating she continued her dance education at Ecole de Rudra Béjart in Lausanne Switzerland. Her professional performing career started with Columbia Classical Ballet and Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida. She traveled to Peru to be a demi-Soloist with Ballet Municipal de Lima and then to Romania where she was a soloist with The Romanian National Opera and Ballet Oleg Danovski. Throughout her education and professional career she has been coached and mentored by Associate Professor of Dance at UNCSA and former Mariinsky Ballet Soloist Nina Danilova. Deborah was assistant to Nina Danilova on the creation of the book “Eight Female Classical Ballet Variations,” published by Oxford University Press in 2016. Deborah taught for Artistic Motion School of Arts, and the University of Hartford’s Pre College Dance Program. In addition to her ballet training Deborah has her RYT yoga teacher certification and at the end of May will be certified in the Progressing Ballet Technique Method. She now teaches yoga and offers Astrology readings at the Sacred Illumination Center of Winston-Salem.
Sierra Rhoades Nicholls
Sierra Rhoades Nicholls (she/her) has been turning herself upside-down for as long as she can remember. A lover of all things acrobatic and exhilarating, she trained as a gymnast her whole life and has fallen in love with standing on her hands. She followed her passion to receive two years of instruction from Maine Circus Academy Professional Level Training Program. Sierra then went on to attend Circadium School of Contemporary Circus in Philadelphia, PA where she graduated in June 2021 with a double major in partner acrobatics and handstands as well as a minor in foot juggling. Sierra is as passionate about training technically as she is artistically. Hours spent staring at one's hands, fighting for balance, teaches a person to think deeply about their place in the world and how they wish to spend their time. In an effort to make work that spreads roots deep into our souls, Sierra has devoted her life to her craft. That devotion has helped her work for companies such as Le Nouveau Sud, ABCirque Productions, CirqOvation, Almanac Dance Circus Theater and more. She was also featured on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Sierra's desire to help others find their way in circus led her to found CSAW - Connecting Circus Students Around the World in 2018. CSAW is a non-profit devoted to making resources and financial aid accessible for the circus community and is most well known for its BIPOC grant programs. Learn more about CSAW at csawcircus.org Sierra website : https://www.sierrarhoades.com Sierra IG: @sierra_rhoades
Dom-Sebastian is a Hip-Hop & Contemporary Fusion Artist trained in various degrees of StreetDance, social grooves, and contemporary dance techniques. He has battled amongst B-Boys, shot commercials for Samsung and NatGeo, done blogs for Verizon, and is apart of an elite dance community known as the Red Bull Beat Riders. Dom-Sebastian has taught in multiple teaching settings for local studios, community workshops for organizations like the NC Folk Festival, and universities stuck as Colorado University (Boulder), UNCSA, Old Dominion, to name a few and. He was the first Hip-Hop Dance Instructor to teach at ADF's Samuel Scripps Studios and has completed training with the National Dance Institute (founded by New York City Ballet principal dancer Jacques d’Amboise). Dom-Sebastian has been an Adjunct Professor for Elon University and Salem College and has worked with Local Schools in his hometown as an Arts Integrated Facilitator where he uses art as a learning tool to assist teachers in Title 1 schools. He is also trained in multiple forms of improvisation and choreographic techniques and in his free time, Dom-Sebastian also teaches private lessons and works with local stores to produce social media content to promote their businesses.
In order of the show:
"The Passing" by Lucid Production Music
"Dark Water" by Collapse Under the Empire
" Books" by Chapelier Fou
"Maddagala" Nils Petter Molvaer
"Take Off" by Rene Aubry
"Wingbeats" by Hidden Orchestra
"Tango Romantico" by Rene Aubry
"Lumi" by Aukai
"Wind Runner" Aukai
"Addis" by Remy Van Kesteren
"In Orbit" by The Abyss Inside Us
"Frost" by Gabriel Olafs
"Valentin's Blood Flows" by Grandbrothers
"Into the Unknown" by Blackchords
"A Song for You" Kishi Bashi
About the Arts Council of
Winston-Salem & Forsyth County
On August 9, 1949, Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County became the first locally-established arts council in the United States. The Junior League of Winston-Salem brought national community arts consultant Virginia Lee Comer to town in 1943 to study the cultural life of the community. Her strategy for cultural planning was to build connections between the community and its arts activities. Seed money of $7,200 was set aside by the Junior League in 1946, and in 1949, representatives from twelve cultural groups convened to form the arts council.
Our earliest purpose was "to serve those members and to plan, coordinate, promote, and sponsor the opportunity for, and the appreciation of, cultural activities in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County."
As the chief advocate of arts and culture in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, we are eager to push our arts and cultural sector to the next level. This will require us to explore new ideas, expand our reach, and respond to needs of our community through the lens of arts, culture, and creativity.