Whether they are on stilts, hovering above the crowd at the Masque Parade, or clowning around with children at the New Year’s Party, the A-Muse Troupe engages the audience with everything they do.
“It really is an engagement with the community. That is what drives it,” said John Denham, one of the core members of the troupe.
A-Muse Troupe, originally a crew of fire spinners who found each other by chance in Golden seven years ago, has evolved into a Golden staple, performing at many community events, and constantly evolving.
“In seven years we’ve learned a lot of different things, and developed certain skills. We’ve learned a lot about performing, and have had a lot of opportunities to perform as well,” said Denham.
“The level of performances keeps going up and up and up. I recently looked at all the Masque Parade performances each year, and I swear each year you see an improvement in the performance that the A-Muse Troupe does.”
Since those early days of fire spinning, the A-Muse Troupe’s repertoire has grown to include clowning, juggling, improvisation, puppetry, song, dance, and most recently stilt performing. They brought someone in to teach a workshop, and before they knew it they had built 12 sets of stilts, and learned how to use them.
This year they plan on expanding they’re clowning skills, and have a professional coming in from Vancouver to teach another workshop. Loving to learn new skills is a must for all A-Muse members.
“In A-Muse you’re always trying to learn something new, so my new one is trying to juggle with clubs so that we can all do passing together,” said Jared Kotyk, a core member of the troupe for the last four years. “I started when I moved here, and it changed my life.”
“Jared’s skills are definitely in the clowning and improv department. He is just a wealth of creativity,” said Denham.
With new members in the troupe every year, new skills, talents and ideas are constantly being brought to the group.
“Any given year, we don’t really know what we have to work with until we sit down and find out who can commit to what. Then we take the pieces of what we have, and create something with it.”
Hoola Hooping, for example, was brought into the group by member Caroline Krueger. She joined about two years ago, and has shared her talent with the troupe.
“Everybody loves what they’re doing, and we all love learning, teaching and sharing with each other. It’s really fun,” said Krueger.
“I didn’t have that many skills when I started, and I’ve developed them mostly from interacting with people here and the performances.”
Throughout the years A-Muse has featured talents from people all over Canada, and the world. One member this year travels every week from Canmore to be part of the group.
But the talent extends much further than just the stage. Anyone who saw the Masque Parade this year will have noticed how much work went into the costumes.
“She’s not a seamstress, she’s a textile artist,” said Denham of new member Hanna Bracken.
Bracken joined this year after seeing the A-Muse Troupe’s Cabaret at the Legion this past fall.
“I saw the Cabaret last year. The fortune I got that night was, this night will change your life forever, so I made sure it did. Then I joined,” said Bracken. “The costume part is the easy part for me, the performing is the hard part.”
But the welcoming environment of A-Muse has made her feel comfortable to expand on her performing skills.
Over the years the troupe has performed at the Civic Centre Grand Opening, seven Snow King Festivals, Arts in the Park, Take Back the Night, and many more including their first ever Cabaret performance. But it all started with some encouraging support from the local arts council.
“Kicking Horse Culture and Bill Usher has also been a tremendous supporter of the A-Muse Troupe,” said Denham.
But it is continually evolving, so keep coming out to see their performances. The A-Muse Troupe is working hard to always surprise you.