Georgia Bryan Contorts, Poses and Dances Her Way Through Pacific Palisades
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Lifelong resident of the Palisades Georgia Bryan was 7 years old when she first tried flying trapeze at the Santa Monica Pier.
“My mom’s friend had a kid who was taking circus classes and she told my mom about it, and since I liked flying trapeze so much, I just started taking classes,” Bryan explained to the Palisadian-Post. “Then I was in a professional kids circus company for four years.”
Her first-ever big show was at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre at the age of 9.
Now, Bryan, 15, calls herself a contortionist, dancer, acrobat and aspiring yogi. She focuses mainly on freelance work and working with adult performance companies.
She has been photographed in various poses throughout Pacific Palisades—including at Will Rogers State Beach, the Bluffs and a viral video taken at the Palisades Recreation Center.
On an average week, Bryan trains for about 15 hours, but with four upcoming performances, that number has doubled.
“I count everything as training,” she shared of her schedule. “Right now, I’m doing 30 hours per week … I have rehearsal five hours, five days a week, plus yoga and hand-balancing and dance at school.”
But Bryan, who attends Crossroads School, said that the long hours don’t bother her.
“The reason I can do it is because it’s all so fun for me, it doesn’t feel like work at all,” the Alphabet Streets resident explained.
Often times, Bryan is training with a bunch of adults, but she said that because she has older brothers that are 29 and 30, she is used to hanging out with people who are older than her.
“Most of my friends are adults from the circus community and outside of school,” she said. “It doesn’t feel very weird to me, but it can be a little intimidating at times, but it’s really cool. Everyone I train with, I look up to, all of my coaches and all of the people in the dance company I’m working with, it blows me away how amazing they are.”
Bryan’s upcoming performance schedule includes two shows with the Jacob Jonas Company at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, four days of performances with the dance program at her school and then one annual performance in Topanga.
“I have one performance that I do every year on Mother’s Day at Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga,” Bryan said. “It’s called ‘MOMentum Place’ and that one is always really fun.”
The show is a fundraiser for the theater—this will be Bryan’s fifth time in the show.
“Usually it’s the same people every time, so it’s a fun one,” she shared.
As if Bryan didn’t have enough on her plate, she also wanted to use all of her hard work for good and was inspired in 2016 to found nonprofit YES Circus, which stands for Youth Empowerment Social Circus.
“Our goal is to bring circus to under-served kids and people who live in under-served communities because it has a lot of benefits,” Bryan said. “It’s a good team-building exercise, it can boost self-confidence and creativity.”
Through YES Circus, Bryan and other members participated in the OUR HOUSE Run for Hope.
“There’s a street corner during the walk that me and a bunch of my other kid circus friends cheer on the runners from the side,” Bryan explained.
YES Circus also helped out at Camp Ubuntu, three-day retreats for South LA youth put on by the Harold Robinson Foundation. Bryan loved the experience so much that she returned to the camp by herself, not to do circus, but to be a junior counselor.
“I love Camp Ubuntu,” she shared. “It’s one of my favorite experiences and one of my favorite ways to use circus because even in just one day, you can see the kids really getting a lot out of it. That’s the instance where I can see the most obvious benefits from doing circus because in a short time period, the kids actually change a lot.”
With many of the members growing up and going off to college, YES Circus is currently in a period of rebuilding.
“There are two other founding members, and one of them is in college and the other doesn’t do circus anymore,” Bryan said.
One of Bryan’s other favorite experiences through circus has been working with mini therapy horses that were doing a show at Equestfest, which serves a preview for the Rose Parade.
The past couple of years, Bryan has focused on building her Instagram account, where she shares photos and videos of her work to more than 68,000 followers.
“[There are] so many opportunities—there’s a huge community of people on Instagram, specifically a lot of yogis who I interact with and photographer and acropeople,” Bryan said. “So if there’s someone who finds me and likes my work or the other way around, someone will reach out. I do a lot of collaborations with people.”
Through building her social media, Bryan was able to collaborate with Jordan Matter, a YouTuber who is famous for 10-minute photo challenges.
“I went to New York to do the 24-hour photo challenge, which was a world record-breaking event where Jordan basically did a photo shoot for 24 hours straight,” Bryan explained. “There were 30 artists that he was photographing and I was one of them. I think I did 14 hours of the challenge.”
Matter’s challenge attracted artists from around the world, including Spain and Australia.
“Sometimes I’ll have three photo shoots a week and sometimes I’ll go a couple of weeks without having one,” Bryan said, “but I like always being able to create new content.”
Another recent collaboration she did was with body painter Paul Roustan who wanted to capture a specific shot of Bryan under water.
“We were trying to get a heart in the water with my back and the reflection,” she explained. “It’s now a piece of fine art that they’re selling in stores in LA. It’s kind of crazy to me, I think that’s pretty cool.”
Bryan may keep a schedule that makes the average adult feel lazy—but when she’s not training, helping out with YES Circus, or collaborating with artists and photographers from around the world, Bryan takes a moment to be a teenager, skateboarding with her older brother, eating at Pearl Dragon at least once a week or hanging out at Palisades Village.
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