What is CSAW?
Connecting Circus Students Around the World
CSAW was founded in 2018 to increase accessibility of information and funding for students of international circus schools. Through increase of knowledge, resources, community, and financial aid, CSAW strives to assist future circus artists in finding the pathways best for them.
CSAW’s vision is to encourage more circus students to pursue professional education in circus arts. The current barriers to this are accessibility of information, thoroughness of resources and financial obstacles that keep potentially incredible artists from pursuing the next stages of career development. Our vision is to steadily remove these barriers to stimulate and encourage more inclusive and representative circus schools and by extension, the circus world.
CSAW offers financial aid opportunities to increase education and participation in circus to BIPOC identifying circus artists. Our current financial aid programs are the CSAW Microgrant Program for U.S. Circus Artists of Color and our CSAW Tuition Grant for U.S. Circus Artists of Color.
In addition to our financial-aid programs, we also run the CSAW Ambassador Committee Initiative to appoint student representatives from international circus schools in order to help answer questions for potential attendees. CSAW Ambassadors are dedicated volunteers who support prospective students through applying, auditioning and attending circus schools.
MEET THE TEAM
SIERRA RHOADES NICHOLLS
Sierra founded CSAW (Connecting Circus Students Around the World) in 2018. Originally a gymnast from Missoula, Montana in the United States, Sierra went on to apply for 28 circus schools and audition for 11. In her application and audition process, information were difficult to find and resources felt limited. Sierra started CSAW in hopes of helping future generations of circus artists by connecting them to the resources they need.
Sierra ended up attending Ciradium School of Contemporary Circus in Philadelphia, PA, US where she graduated in 2021, specializing in handbalancing, foot juggling and partner acrobatics.
Chisama Ku is an avid pole dancer from Atlanta, GA. She teaches pole and flexibility classes, is currently training on aerial rope and occasionally performs on a lyra pole.
Chisama Ku has extensive experience as an Arts Administrator working with non-profit music and dance organizations, from the Atlanta Dance & Music Academy to the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen. Her passion lies in making all aspects of the performing arts more accessible for students of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, and believes that money should never be a barrier. She hopes to help broaden the conversation on who is allowed to be considered a circus artist.
Chisama Ku joined the CSAW Team in July 2021 to help manage the second ever CSAW Fundraiser - helping to create funding opportunites for BIPOC circus artists!
Kevin Flanagan is a classical guitarist turned circus artist from Bronxville, NY. His love of music started with his dad, who made sure that growing up sounded strange. He started taking guitar lessons at the age of ten and hasn't stopped playing since. Kevin followed his love of playing to Ithaca College where he first discovered circus. He graduated from Circadium School of Cotemporary Circus in 2021 specializing in unicycle, juggling and partner acrobatics.
Kevin joined the CSAW (Connecting Circus Students Around the World) team in 2020 in order to aid in providing financial aid to circus students.