photo of Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion, co founders of necca


– NECCA’s Founders and Artistic Directors
– Recipients of the 2016 Governor’s choice for Walter Cerf Excellence in the Arts Award
– Recipients of the 2016 American Circus Educators Excellence in Education Award
– Recipients of a Special Prize at the Wuqiao International Circus Festival in China for their duo trapeze act
– Recipients of a Bronze Medal at the 1st International Festival of Circus in Albacete, Spain for their duo trapeze act

Elsie and Serenity are identical twins specializing in aerial acrobatics whose teaching & performing resumes include a broad spectrum of circus and performing companies in the US and beyond. From their childhood as tree climbing book worms growing up in Western Massachusetts, they took their passion for hard work and adventure into long running careers in the circus arts. Their shared resumes include performing for Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, the New Pickle Circus, Cirque Productions and Cirque Le Masque.

As instructors they have been instrumental in creating the modern pedagogy for aerial arts, and broadening the depth of circus arts instruction to include injury prevention and core training. Their teacher training for aerial instructors is one of the first programs of its kind in the world.

At the beginning of their careers they split their time between teaching and performing. Serenity helped found the San Francisco’s Circus Center, then while performing on Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco served as Pilates captain and working closely with physical therapists to promote injury prevention & rehabilitation among other artists. Elsie earned a coaches certification in trampoline & has choreographed for the UGA Dance department, Circus Smirkus, & Sea World. Together they brought a technical circus training approach to aerial dance Festivals in the United States, England and Ireland.

In 2003 the sisters settled in Vermont and founded their company Nimble Arts to offer performances and aerial teacher training. They later added a professional training program for aspiring circus artists. In 2007 Nimble Arts was awarded first place in the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation Business Plan competition, and later that year the permanent school portion of the organization was granted not for profit status as its own entity – the New England Center for Circus Arts.

NECCA has since grown to be the most comprehensive circus arts training school in the United States, offering classes to recreational & professional students of all ages, including the longest running professional training program in the US. Elsie and Serenity continue to serve as Directors of the school they founded while maintaining performing and teaching careers that take them all over the world as consultants, teachers and entertainers.

“NECCA is an unbelievably fantastic resource that has given my daughter strength, confidence, agility, artistry, and a close family of like-minded souls. Not sure where she would have found her place if not for NECCA.”

“This [NECCA] is a good business plan. This creates jobs, economic development, opportunity, but most importantly, it changes kids’ lives.”

“The kids had a total blast. . .we really appreciate NECCA reaching out to us so that we can all work together to serve our kids better. They were so centered, and grounded, and ready to get back to academics when they came back to school – and that’s exactly what we had hoped for them!”

“I have not felt this beautiful since my surgery. Just as cancer teaches you that you can live through stresses you never imagined, this program teaches you that your body can fly and do things you never imagined.”

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