The Former Trapeze Artist Running the Show
You could say Shana Carroll’s path has been anything but conventional. She began her 20-year career as a trapeze artist with San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus, and she eventually went on to perform as a solo trapezist with the Cirque du Soleil touring show Saltimbanco. Now, she’s found her place and hit her stride alongside others with a big-top mindset at the circus collective The 7 Fingers. As a co-founding artistic director of the Montreal-based group, she and her colleagues, who include writers, directors and, like her, circus choreographers, use their showmanship skills to create multimedia storytelling events that “push the definition and potential of live performance.”
Based on the bestselling book Water for Elephants, the musical with the same name premiered in Vancouver in June. A 7 Fingers production, the show uses an ensemble cast skilled in awe-inspiring acrobatics, trapeze wizardry and other three-ring acts to tell the story of a runaway who attempts to start a new life with the circus. Shana Carroll also relied on drama, music and acrobatics to create the heart-pounding aerial extravaganza Dear San Francisco at Club Fugazi, a show running since October 2021. Audience members watch as the City by the Bay’s rich history — from the Gold Rush and 1906 earthquake to the beatnik scene — comes to life via hoop diving, juggling, and other physical feats. In late 2017, Shana directed Crystal, Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever ice-skating show.