For acrobat Marisa Kellogg (IntlAf’10), adventure is a continuous call.
Take, for instance, the time she was part of Boulder’s AscenDance Project, a group of dancers who perform a choreographed routine on a rock wall — without ropes.
Circus filled a void gymnastics left.
Or the period in 2016 she spent in the jungles of Colombia teaching acrobatics in Spanish. Or last year, when she helped lead a three-week children’s circus camp in the tiny town of Talkeetna, Alaska, population 876.
“Movement is a lifestyle for me,” said Kellogg, 28, who started gymnastics when she was four. “To me it’s a form of play — using and challenging my body in different ways for optimal physical and mental well-being.”
Originally from Washington, D.C., Kellogg is manager of the Fractal Tribe, a professional circus arts troupe based at the Boulder Circus Center. The group combines theatrics with dance, fire, acrobatics, aerial arts and music for audiences at festivals, theaters and conventions.
“We are made up of scientists, programmers, healers, teachers and activists,” said Kellogg, who lives full-time at the center, located on Boulder’s 26th Street, near Jay Road.
Kellogg’s competitive gymnastics career was sidelined by a back injury when she was 16 years old. But she still craved active performance and found an outlet in Boulder.
“Circus filled a void that gymnastics left,” said Kellogg. In performances, she does everything from partner acrobatics — including counter balances and adagios — to hand balancing. At Colorado’s Arise music festival in August 2017, she performed a fire dancing set on stage.
“I’ve performed with fire fans, palm torches, double staffs and a fire hoop,” she said. “I’ve gotten used to the smell of burnt hair.”
Off stage, Kellogg teaches adult gymnastics and circus classes. She helps her students develop better spatial and body awareness through activities like handstands, strength development and partner moves.
“Marisa brings her passion for community, play and collaboration into everything that she does,” said Fractal Tribe producer Lani Gordon. “Her movement and performance are a direct representation of her personality: Focused, committed, connected and skillful.”
For Kellogg, part of the job is to be ready for the unexpected. “Once, we performed outdoors for a fire festival in below freezing temperatures, and it was snowing so hard the stage turned into an ice rink,” she said. “The obstacles that come up are part of the process. Unless someone’s safety is at risk, the show must go on!”
Photo courtesy Steve Stoytchev Photography