News Detail

Cirque Desperadas brings Wild West to Rabun Gap

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School celebrated the 20-year anniversary of its Cirque program with Cirque Desperadas on the Rearden Stage, October 28-30, 2021. 

This thrilling, Wild West adventure followed the tale of Cactus Rose (Amara Scott of Otto, NC) and her quest to save her hometown. Along the way, Cactus Rose meets Calamity Jane (Jennica Ullrich ’23 of Knoxville, TN), Etta Place (Sarah Katherine Brenner of Franklin, NC), Annie Oakley (Morgan Mescher ‘24 of Otto, NC), Mary Fields (Diane Akpovwa ’22 of Abuja, Nigeria), Belle Starr (Katherine Tench’22 of Clarkesville, GA), and Eleanor Dumont (Genevieve Maddox ‘22 of Clarkesville, GA) who help her fight for her town. The story was based on the Magnificent Seven, and the main characters were based on real outlaw women.

Cirque Desperadas featured awe-inspiring Cirque acts on the Lyra, aerial silks, Spanish Web, and more. There were also many dance performances, choreographed fight scenes, and live music in the show. 

 Prior to the show, our Middle School Cirque students performed outside of the Arts & Technology Building. Using our new outdoor Cirque rig, Middle School students showcased their skills on the silks, trapeze, and Lyra, while also providing pre-show entertainment in the form of dances and skits. Our STEAM students also created Western-themed games for audience members to play before the show. 

“The Cirque program at Rabun Gap has grown and evolved over the last two decades into a truly unique experience,” said director Sean Lakey, who leads the arts department at Rabun Gap. “The students have an incredible amount of ownership and pride in the program, and it is one of the cornerstone memories of Rabun Gap for so many.  The sheer amount of effort, creativity, problem-solving, and athleticism that the students pour into this program year after year is a constant source of inspiration.”

The annual Cirque performance is a Rabun Gap tradition that dates back to 2001. Each year, Upper School students perform an original show that draws in audiences from across the region. Cirque Desperadas had nearly sold-out shows on Friday and Saturday nights. 

“We are incredibly proud of our Cirque program,” said Head of School Jeff Miles. “Rabun Gap is one of the only schools in the country with a Cirque program, and our students continue to amaze me with their talents on stage and behind the scenes.”

Around 100 Rabun Gap students were involved in the show this year, both on stage, in the orchestra, behind the scenes, and in the preshow performances and preparations.

Click here to see more photos from Cirque Desperadas.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.