Instructor Laura Pence leads an aerial silks workshop at the Banneker Community Center during FlowMotion Chiller 2015. Photo by Darryl Smith

BY LINDA MARGISON

As the co-founder of the Hudsucker Posse hoop dance troupe and executive director of FlowMotion Events, Paula Chambers knows a thing or two about the circus arts. When she decided to hold a flow arts event in Bloomington, Chambers’ vision started on a festival-style path, but over time it’s changed to reflect an emphasis on teaching, technique, and community-building. The latest iteration of that vision, FlowMotion Symposium 2017, will take place at multiple venues November 10–12.

The first FlowMotion event was held in 2014, and included 300 flow artists celebrating hula-hooping, juggling, poi-spinning, and prop manipulation. From that starting point, Chambers says, the organizers made some adjustments.

“We wanted the emphasis on classes, learning, and performances, and less on music and festival,” Chambers says.

“We worked on our infrastructure and what our mission was really about, and then we started to focus on providing opportunities for performers to find stages and connect with audiences,” she says.

In 2015, Chambers added Arts and Outreach Director Corey Hollinger, 24, whose creative vision, she says, developed the concept of combining drama and flow arts into fundraising shows, like an Alice in Wonderland–themed variety show and a murder-mystery where the audience had to guess the murderer and weapon.

“We wanted to stretch the creative diversity of opportunities we were giving these performers to explore a character, explore a story, and use their art to make people think or feel something,” Hollinger says, adding that not only were performers wanting more shows, but audiences were also having a good time. “The audience feels like they’ve been taken along on that journey of growth and exploration through movement.”

Chambers received an Individual Artist Program grant to partially fund this year’s symposium at Banneker Center, the I Fell Building, Artisan Alley, the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, Wild Orchid, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott Bloomington.

With longer lunch and dinner breaks allowing participants to visit restaurants, bars, and attractions downtown, Chambers expects a tourism boost to the city. She encourages people who don’t perform, but are curious, to attend the showcases. “You’ll see something you’ve never seen before—I guarantee it,” she says.

For more information, visit flowmotionretreat.com.


FLOWMOTION FINALE

From hoopsters to belly dancers to aerial artists, the FlowMotion Symposium finishes with a showcase of local and national talent. Take a look at these colorful shots by Bloom Associate Editor Rodney Margison from their 2016 performances: