Circus Latino Concludes Sleepy Hollow’s Vibrant Arts Initiative

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| by Robert Kimmel |

Circus Latino performances are scheduled for September 18-20.
Circus Latino performances are scheduled for September 18-20.

Sleepy Hollow’s riverfront will come alive with circus aerialists, acrobats, Latino music and dancers for three days this month in an exciting culmination of this year’s multi-art activities hosted by the village.

The Circus Latino performances, along with a lantern art exhibit, are scheduled for September 18,19 and 20 on what was the vacated site of GM’s long gone auto plant now slated to be developed as a mixed-use community, Edge-On-Hudson. Co-produced by Jazz Forum Arts and Westchester Circus Arts, in collaboration with the village, five one-hour shows will take place on the three dates under a 90-foot “ Big Top” circus tent. 

Mark Morgenelli, who heads Jazz Forum Arts, has assembled Brazilian and Ecuadorian musical groups  to provide the latin rhythms. “I formed a nine-piece samba band, with all Brazilian musicians, excepting myself, for the event,” Morgenelli explained. Brazilian singer Monika Oliveira will provide some of the vocals, combining jazz with her native beats. Other well-known Brazilian performers include Jania Santana, Nanny Assis, and Eddie Monteiro. 

An outstanding local talent, Morgenelli is a trumpeter and flugelhornist, who has performed widely in festivals and locally with the Jazz Forum All-Stars; he has recorded a number of CD albums as well. The Ecuadorian musical unit engaged by Morgenelli for Circus Latino is Grupo Inkhay, which he described as “highly recommended.” Directed by Pepe Santana, and including Rothman Teran, Cesar Vele, and Ivan Vele, the group plays multiple musical instruments.           

Circus-Latino-2-(1)-PAGE-11Circus Latino will take on a carnival-like ambiance at its start when all the performers, musicians, dancers, aerialists, and stilt-walkers march to a samba beat into the tent in what is known as a Batucada Parade. Morgenelli said the musicians and dancers will alternate with and accompany the circus performers during the show.

Leading the circus aerial displays will be Westchester Circus Arts directors Hillary Sweeney and Carlo Pellegrini. Acts will include a flying trapeze performance, flying straps, aerial silks, the Lyra, which is a spinning hoop, and an acrobatic duo. The audience will surely find laughs watching a comic trampoline act. Among the circus performers are Henry Kravchenko, Becca DeAngelis,  Heather Franklin and Jenna Kavalchuk plus instructors from the Westchester Circus Arts trapeze classes conducted recently on the riverfront site. About 400 mostly young people attended those classes, according to Sweeney. 

Attendees at Circus Latino will also have an opportunity to test their agility by swinging on a trapeze guided by a professional. Speaking about the overall show, Sweeney said, “This is an event that will draw the community together, no matter age or income.” She sees it as having a universal appeal. 

Spectators will also observe a display of more than 100 handcrafted lanterns made by community members and artists. The lanterns were designed to be assembled as the “Bridge Lights” display at Circus Latino. The project was conceived by Jeff White who led a series of woodcut workshops this summer at Warner Library where they were created.  White is a member of Totemic 17, an organization that undertakes one such artistic venture annually. 

As for the full season of art initiatives by Sleepy Hollow, Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio called it “an incredible success. We have done exactly what we hoped to do which is to take the talent we have in the community and bring it to the whole community, the entire village.”  Giaccio cited the many projects spurred on and supported by the village, such as the mural painting on Beekman Avenue.

“It started with the Rivertown Artists Workshop (RAW) and with all of these artists in the village, or coming to the village looking for a place to work or perform, it became pretty obvious that we have some good talent in Sleepy Hollow,” Giaccio noted. “Also, coupled with the Westchester Circus Arts, and Jeff White, with Totemic 17, we thought about a project for which we could get a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.”       

Circus-Latino-3While that funding source didn’t materialize, Sleepy Hollow did receive two smaller grants: $30,000 from the New York State Council for the Arts, and a $45,000 grant from I Love New York, enough to launch The Sleepy Hollow Arts Initiative.  The village also received a hefty $25,000 contribution for Circus Latino from Lighthouse Landing Venture, LLC, the developer of Edge-On-Hudson, which is hosting the event. 

Additional financial assistance for the arts project included a $5,300 donation from Rivertown Runners which covered the cost of flamenco dance classes and a Columbian music class. River’s Edge developer, National RE/Sources supported the multi-art summer camp at the Life Center. Phelps Hospital, and Moribito Electric contributed funds. As part of the project, Fuji Film is sponsoring a Sleepy Hollow photo contest which ends September 15. Contest details are available on the village website.

Circus Latino performances take place Friday, September 18, at 7 p.m., and on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, and $10 for children under 10 years old. They may be purchased online at, or at Village Hall at 28 Beekman Avenue, or at The Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main Street , Tarrytown, or on site, if available. Free parking is on-site.   

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