“I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we are in a recession, and circus performers are the first things cut,” informs Aloft Loft Director Shayna Swanson at the start of the monthly El Cheapo Circo Cabaret.
While a standing-room-only crowd fills the old industrial space for this month’s installment, the Cabaret, is more for out-of-work circus performers than for the interested audience.
“This show helps us stay motivated to make new acts since we are not getting hired elsewhere. It also gives us the opportunity to get really good video of our work, which is really difficult for circus performers because we are always facing the wrong direction, or not the focus of attention,” explains Aloft Company member Helena Reynolds.
While the economy’s effect on performers motivated the creation of El Cheapo, Aloft also keeps the attendees’ economic situations in mind.
“It costs ten dollars to get in but you can do pull-ups to get your money back. For every pull-up you do, up to five, you get a dollar back. If you do ten pull-ups, you’re entered in a raffle to get the other five dollars back,” explains Reynolds as an surprisingly strong woman pumps out ten dead hang pull-ups behind her.
Last month, everyone could earn all ten dollars back but this month the refund formula had to be adjusted. “We had to change it up because last month we made no money,” says Reynolds. Tonight, things are going more Aloft’s way. “I tried and only got halfway up,” admits Anissa Ghali about her pull-up attempt. (Meaghan Strickland)