Flying Footless: A Manual for Coaches Wanting to Welcome the Disability Community
The updated Flying Footless manual is a guide for creating accessible and inclusive circus practices. The manual focuses on lower limb amputees with an outline for making circus accessible for all people. There is information about language, warm ups, how to ask questions, how to connect with the Disabled/adaptive community, specific skills for amputees and much more.
LEGacy Circus is a contemporary circus arts duo featuring artists Erin Ball and Vanessa Furlong. LEGacy Circus is a multidisciplinary rollercoaster of emotions and story telling. Combining the use of leg attachments, mobility aids, traditional and non-traditional circus apparatuses, Erin and Vanessa share their story of “what if we tried this?” while sharing laughter, tears, gasps and awe with each other and their audiences alike.
Erin and Vanessa met at Circus Sessions in Toronto in 2016. They were under mentorship through Adèll Nodé-Langlois to create a unique piece together using their leg attachments. Erin, a professional acrobat and aerialist, is a double below knee amputee who uses various leg attachments on floor and in air. Vanessa is a professional acrobat and aerialist who experiments in these fields using stilts. The results of their collaborations were so well received that they immediately created their collective “LEGacy Circus” and have been performing, researching and developing their full length show for the past two years.
LEGacy Circus is in the process of making all shows more accessible to blind and partially-sighted audiences (and in general). Our videos do not currently have audio description and we apologize. We strongly believe in access for all. We are currently researching creative audio description.
Photo description: Vanessa and Erin are on a trapeze bar, dressed in costumes that are black and white. Vanessa has her knees on the bar and is sitting back, hands open and off the bar, arms bent, looking sideways. Erin has a few inches of lower leg below the knee on each side and is hanging upside down, with legs wide, with her thighs on Vanessa’s feet. Her arms are extended and reaching out below and above. The lighting is green. They have white fuzzy goggles on their heads. Performance during the Hospice Quinte gala on Saturday April 1, 2017 in Belleville, Ont. Tim Miller/Belleville Intelligencer/Postmedia Network
Vanessa has 15 years experience coaching all ages in theatre, clown, beginner&intermediate acrobatics, act creation, and stage presence. With a degree in Theatre and Music performance, and 15 years professional performance and instructor positions, Vanessa brings a great deal of insight into theatrical and circus related stage arts. Vanessa works with students of all abilities and has a keen understanding of social outreach based workshops and adaptable acrobatics alongside Erin.
Erin Ball is a circus artist and coach based in Kingston, Ontario and she is the owner of Kingston Circus Arts. She is mainly an aerialist but also does some hand balancing. She took a year off in March 2014 due to life changing events that resulted in having both lower legs removed. She has returned to her passion of training, coaching and performing. She loves adapting and creating new/different ways of executing skills.
Erin loves to move and to connect with others through movement and play. She has worked with many diverse groups of people. In 2017, she developed a workshop and manual, called Flying Footless, a course for aerial coaches working with amputees and aimed at increasing accessibility in circus arts in general. In 2018, she hosted her first amputee circus camp week at Kingston Circus Arts. Erin has taught circus to people with limb differences and various other adaptive individuals across Canada and the USA.
Erin has many current artistic projects, including her company LEGacy Circus with Vanessa Furlong, various aerial and ground works, and creative audio description projects (to make circus more accessible for the blind and partially-sighted community). Erin regularly collaborates with artists from across Canada and the US, including Femmes du Feu, Heidi Latsky Dance, Anandam Dance, Alex Bulmer, Michele Frances, and many more.
Erin also writes a column for The Kingston Whig Standard newspaper, called No Feet and a Heartbeat, about life since her accident.