Top News

Circus dreams for Cape Breton teen

Adlie Leviten-Reid, 15, wrapped up in her aerial silks about 20 feet above the ground, creates a picture-perfect pose during a performance at the Sydney street festival in August.
Adlie Leviten-Reid, 15, wrapped up in her aerial silks about 20 feet above the ground, creates a picture-perfect pose during a performance at the Sydney street festival in August. - Nikki Sullivan

Adlie Leviten-Reid says family support her future plans

SYDNEY, N.S. —

Adlie Leviten-Reid paused when asked how old she was when she had decided on a career in the circus arts.

Adlie Leviten-Reid, 15, poses in mid-air during an aerial silks performance at the Sydney street festival in August.
Adlie Leviten-Reid, 15, poses in mid-air during an aerial silks performance at the Sydney street festival in August.

Since making her debut “non-parent only” performance at Lumiere Art Festival in 2018, the 15-year-old has become a crowd favourite at events like this summer’s street festival in Sydney and Cape Breton Regional Municipality's New Year’s Eve 2018 events.

She’s also planning to attend the three-year diploma program in circus arts from National Circus School in Montreal after graduating from Riverview High School in two years.

But she’s not sure exactly how old she was when she knew she was meant to work in the circus arts. Leviten-Reid does know what inspired it — seeing her first circus performance.

“I watched them and I thought, I could be like that, doing that,” she said, adding with a shy smile. “I really liked the idea of the flexibility (of contortionism). The reaction, freaking people with contortionism.”

Born in Madison, Wis., Leviten-Reid moved to Sydney via Saskatoon with her family when she was six. After moving, she continued taking non-competitive gymnastics classes but said by the time she was eight she didn’t feel “advanced enough” to continue.

She also noticed she was top of the class when it came to flexibility.

“We would stretch to perform our classes and I would be bending my back,” she said, sitting in the living room of the Sydney home she lives in with her parents and brother.

“I would look around the room and think, 'Oh, I can do that further than anyone else in the class.'”

Around this time, Leviten-Reid took her first circus training camp and found her niche. With the help of her parents, Catherine and Eric, she began training as much as she could, traveling for camps at schools like Atlantic Cirque (Halifax) and National Circus School (Montreal).

Leviten-Reid, who has an eight-year-old brother, Joyce, said her family is supportive of her decision to pursue circus arts as a career, bringing her to training whenever she needs.

As she begins her final years of high school, this will mean monthly trips to Halifax, to perfect the skills Leviten-Reid will need to have a career in the circus arts.

“As a little kid, I always wanted a job where I was active… In the circus arts, you can do it however you want. You can literally do whatever you want. I love that creative freedom.”


BIO

Adlie Leviten-Reid

  • Age: 15
  • Circus Artist: Aerial silks, contortionism
  • Lives: Sydney, since age six
  • Born: Madison, Wis.
  • Studies at: Riverview Rural High School, Atlantic Cirque
  • Performed at: Lumiere Art Festival, CBRM New Year’s Eve
  • Favourite Motto: Everything happens for a reason

RELATED:

Lumiere Art-At-Night 2018

A Minute With: Donald Sutherland – from working hard to chilling with Mick Jagger

Recent Stories