UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Photo by Alexis Sabino

Verbatim

‘My determination is tested in daily training when I push myself to the limit.’

By Nancy Loucks-McSloy


Savhannah Crittenden is a performing artist and one of 10 youth worldwide to be accepted this year to Move With The Beat (MWTB) Academy, a prestigious circus school in Melbourne, Australia. She worked with academy director Meaghan Wegg, who has toured globally with the famous Cirque du Soleil, to prepare. The 18-year-old recent high-school graduate and member of Metropolitan United in London, Ont., started her training last August.

On getting started: The first time I saw Cirque du Soleil was a big top show in Toronto called “Kooza.” A ballerina brought me on stage, and I danced alongside her. Instantly, I knew I belonged on stage. I was fascinated by the delicate balance of poise and strength demonstrated by every artist. I started doing gymnastics when I was two years old, and when I was seven, I went to a camp at the National Circus School in Montreal [where she learned the basic techniques of cirque, a form of performing arts that uses circus techniques to tell a story]. Cirque was definitely for me.

On teaching others: I feel that I was put on earth to express my talents. I have a great passion for teaching this beautiful art form, and I had my own studio in London that allowed me to share my passion. I taught, in group and individual settings, 80 students from ages 4 to 40. I loved seeing the smiles on the faces of the audiences and children.

On church: My father is a minister, so I have always gone to church. I have danced in Christmas concerts since I was four and have always felt supported there. Metropolitan United even gave me space in the basement to run my own cirque studio. My church family has gone above and beyond anything I can imagine to support me. The studio space is maintained, office staff has helped with scheduling and other details, and everyone has promoted and attended my shows.

On MWTB Academy: I was scouted by MWTB at the 2016 cirque competitions in Grand Bend and Chatham, Ont. One evening after a long day of training, I found out that I had been accepted. I had a constant smile as I celebrated with family. I have worked hard for this, and my family has supported me.

I know that the two-year training will be the best in the world. I look forward to learning more about incorporating my personal and life experiences into my art form.

On hard work: This past summer, I trained for six hours each day and studied for two. Cirque takes form in many parts of my life, including training, seeing shows and attending expositions.

My determination has been tested in major ways many times, and is tested in daily training when I push myself to the limit. I have learned that I can use my inner strength when everything is hurting. 

This interview has been condensed and edited.



Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Interviews

Courtesy of Pixabay

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Promotional Image

Editorials

Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: It’s a long road toward full equality for women

by Jocelyn Bell

'It’s a wonder that we continue to see male ministers as normative and attach shame to female ministers’ biology and sexuality.'

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Faith

May 2018

Toronto church builds interfaith friendship

by Vivien Fellegi

Faith

May 2018

This parent found no support for her autistic daughter — and decided to change that

by Kieran Delamont

Suzanne Allen talks about raising a daughter on the autism spectrum and bringing all autistic girls together

Faith

May 2018

Church retreat helps first responders with PTSD

by Joe Martelle

Interviews

May 2018

Why this woman is leaving the Catholic Church in her 60s

by Angela Mombourquette

After a lifetime devoted to Catholicism, a Nova Scotia teacher is settling in with the United Church of Canada. Here, she explains why.

Ethics

May 2018

Pregnant in the pulpit

by Trisha Elliott

Ministers who take a maternity leave still face discrimination in their own congregations

Interviews

May 2018

The two words Rev. Cheri DiNovo wants to hear from the United Church

by Alex Mlynek

The Toronto minister talks about her disappointment over the church’s silence when she officiated the country’s first legalized same-sex marriage 17 years ago – and why she wants an apology.

Promotional Image