An aerial artist born and raised in Waddington is appealing for help to fundraise £15,000 to make her circus business bigger and more spectacular.
Nikkiita Mclusky was inspired to work in the performing arts industry after spending a lot of her childhood with her dad at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln, where he worked doing the lighting for various shows.
She was dancing from a young age and by 16 Nikkiita was making her own shows. She specialises as an aerialist with her main act known as the skywalk, and she said she is one of only a handful of performers still doing this in the UK.
The 35-year-old described her act to The Lincolnite as like the monkey bars on the roof of the circus tent, which she goes along upside down using her feet and doing tricks. She also performs using various other aerial apparatus including hoops, silks, ropes and Spanish web.
Nikkiita went out to work with a show in Australia called Webers Circus in January 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic she had to return home to the UK, where she now lives in Leadenham.
In August last year, she started her own open air pop-up circus that was initially called Circus Pandemonium with socially distanced audiences at the George Hotel in Leadenham.
This later became Circus Starlight, a team of 12 including Nikkiita, but due to further coronavirus restrictions and the national lockdown, the productions had to be put on the back burner and she is fundraising to make it even more spectacular.
Nikkiita has so far been funding everything out of her own pocket. She is also in the process of applying for funding from Arts Council England and is also appealing for help from the public.
The whole project will cost around £15,000, including the circus tent, costumes and scenery, and would allow her to make her show bigger scale and plan for even more productions in the future – donations can be made here and for more information email [email protected].
Another way Nikkiita is trying to raise funds is through a campaign called ‘Sponsor A Bead’. She makes her own costumes, which have 3,500 sequins and 9,000 beads hand sewn by her and people can sponsor £1 a bead.
Nikkiita is on a mission to make her show even bigger and bring more local artists together, as well as giving Lincolnshire dance schools free workshops and the chance to perform with professionals.
She is going away to work with Circus of Horrors across the UK from May, as well as being in the process of planning for a Christmas show.
A Magical Christmas will be held on the playing fields near Leadnham village hall between December 8 and 24 this year. Tickets will be priced at £12 for adults and £8 for children and will go on sale this summer.
Nikkiita told The Lincolnite: “Circuses tend to work show to show for income and a lot are self-employed so have fallen through the cracks and not had government support.
“The circus is a vital part of performance culture and you get an incredible array of different people that come to watch. Without that the performance culture in this country would lose something.
“But we are the most resilient people and have the best kind of structures as we already have a COVID safe environment due to the size of the arena and we can have drive-in shows.
“The circus is my life and to not have that has been hard, so I’m really excited to get back out there and perform.”
Nikkiita graduated with a BA(Hons) in Dance from the University of Lincoln in 2010 before doing a Masters in Choreography.
In 2017, she went to London to train at My Aerial Home in London before travelling to fill in for someone at Circus Vegas in Ireland.
As well as previously running her own dance school, Nikkiita has also worked with Chipperfield’s Circus, John Lawson’s Circus and The Wonder Circus.