County: King County
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Ariel Schmidtke is an interdisciplinary physical performer and multimedia artist. With roots in the Pacific Northwest and influences ranging from Southern Gothic to French Nouveau Cirque, Ariel has traveled extensively to enrich her approach to circus dramaturgy. Inspired at a young age by gymnastics she began training as an aerialist with the Dream Science Circus at the age of eighteen. She is drawn to the nonverbal expressiveness of gestures and to diversify her performance skills she has spent the past ten years studying dance, theater, puppetry, and contemporary circus.
Currently, Ariel works on writing full-length circus theater shows, a unique form of physical theater that is especially intimate and participatory. In her performances, Ariel seeks moments of emotional recognition that are relevant across all identities and cultural associations.
Ariel Schmidtke received 2019 GAP award funding to help bring her newest show “The Bug Collector” to the Midwest. “The Bug Collector” is the story of a young person coping with the loss of a close friend by turning to a hobby of collecting and researching insects. However, these complex creatures can’t flourish in the captivity of a glass jar and the young Bug Collector struggles to accept that keeping them isn’t the same as keeping them safe. This funding will allow her to share her work with new communities and build connections with circus performers in different cities.
Artist External Links
A Length of Rope, 2017. Photo: Garry Allen
Bug Shelf (The Bug Collector), Cardstock/shadow puppetry, 2019. Photo: Courtesy of the artist
Ariel Schmidtke & Esther de Monteflores, Monkey and Bear (A System of Strings), Live performance/shadow puppetry, 2018, Photo: Mike Conti
Bear meets Bear (A System of Strings), Live performance/shadow puppetry, 2018. Photo: Mike Conti