Photo Credit: Michael J. Ross PhotographyKendra Greaves is an internationally acclaimed aerialist and circus artist. Her specialties are Corde Lisse (vertical rope) and Tissu (fabric). Kendra has a very unique, dynamic, and quirky style. Her years of training and performance experience, coupled with her super-hero type strength, allow her to create acts on any apparatus that can suit any client's or show's needs and desires.

Kendra started her athletic and performance career at the age of four, when she began to compete on a synchronized swim team. She held a high national ranking for four years. Slowly Kendra moved up onto the land, performing dance at a professional level. Hip Hop and modern dance came naturally to her, and she has since enjoyed performing free style and cage dancing at night clubs across the world. Moving onto the land was just too boring, so Kendra found her way up into the air. She discovered circus and aerial work and fell in love. Kendra has trained all over the US and at circus schools in England and Australia. she has performed on four continents and hopes to travel even more in the coming future.

When not performing or training (which, let's face it, takes most of her time), Kendra loves to knit, write, travel, be upside down, and continue with her study of french. For much more on Kendra be sure to visit http://www.kendralovesrope.com.

Photo Credit: fullcircle-photo.comKendra will be performing with the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts from April 14-17 in "The Green Fairy Cabaret," a show full of aerial and acrobatic feats, plus comedy, juggling and spectacular physical skills atop one of Philadelphia's most breathtaking rooftop spaces, The Hamilton Garden atop the Kimmel Center (300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102).

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have been performing since I was a very young child. I was a nationally ranked synchronized swimmer throughout most of my adolescent years, and performance is a huge part of that sport. As a young girl, I loved that the synchronized swimmers who were Olympians were both incredibly strong athletes, but also extremely good performers. I liked the fact that it pulled both from physicality, but also emotion and personality. Circus and aerial work is like that as well; you can have a very strong act, but if you can't perform the heck out of it, no one will enjoy it. I also love that in my day to day life I wear sweat pants and ripped tights, but then at night when I perform, it's like a literal transformation of costume, makeup, and personality. No matter what is wrong in your life, the show must go on. You can become someone else on stage if you want to, and forget about all your problems.

2. Who is the one person in your field that you haven't worked with that you would like to? I would love to work with smaller touring productions. The main ones I love are Cirque Eloize, Cirque Mechanics, and The Generating Company. I would also like to do more freelance work (guest artist spots) with traditional tented one ring shows around the States.

3. What made you want to perform with the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts? I have a huge soft spot in my heart for PSCA. I have known the owner and founder, Shana Kennedy, for nine years. She was the first person who ever taught me how to climb a rope, and her and her husband Greg have helped me more than they know on my path to being a professional performer. I now am one of the head teachers at PSCA, and I love being a part of their community. It's really like my family as well as my job. When Robin approached me last year about this show, I immediately said yes before I even know what it was, because I have the faith that anything the school and Robin want to be part of, will be amazing!

4. What excites you most about being part of PIFA? How do you decide what to perform for a festival like PIFA as opposed to a season show? I am excited that I was commissioned to put a new act together that is going to be seen by many people. It was really amazing to be able to have the support and encouragement to work on this act. So often my own new material falls along the wayside. I like the theme of the Green Fairy/ Absinthe; I'm glad that I was able to use my experiences in life to put a lot of emotion into this act. I do really enjoy working in long running, touring shows, but at the same time, there is something soothing and enjoyable about being able to stay at home, not have to travel, and know that I can walk to the venue in a few minutes. The Kimmel Center is amazing, I've had the honor of doing a few shows there before, so that was another huge perk of being part of PIFA! The rooftop garden is so great, and I am very happy that I will be performing there!

5. What is the best advice you've ever received? There have been two bits of advice that have made me really stop and think. Both came from close friends when I was training and performing in San Francisco. My friend Lance, a contortionist, once asked me when I was looking very frustrated, "Are you having fun in the air today?" I had to step back, and think, No-I'm really taking this much too seriously!! It forced me to remember that I got into this largely because it's so much fun, and if you forget that, you won't be able to come up with anything of value. The second piece of advice was from BeeJay Joyer, a juggler and acrobat. I had been struggling with a trick on my rope, and I felt like I'd never get it to work. BeeJay said, "Different isn't always better, but better is always different." And sure enough, I tried a different way to do the trick, and I immediately got it. I love to tell my students that gem of advice, especially when they keep making the same mistakes. To make something better, try something different!! It won't always work, but if you want to make a change for the better, it is imperative to try new things and new ways of thinking.

6. Favorite way to spend your day off? When I get a rare day off that I don't train or teach or perform, I tend to sleep a little later than normal, make coffee, read emails, make eggs and grits, hang out with my cats, sew, draw, read, bike around, see my friends, call my mom.... all the normal things! I wish my laundry and chores would do themselves. I also like to wear real clothing- not sweat pants and ripped sweatshirts!

BONUS QUESTION:

7. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Me, in the future. Sometimes I really wish I knew what was going to happen in my life. I also love dreams that I wake up from laughing. Usually my friends are involved in those. I also love dreams that involve me making up amazing new tricks on my rope or silks, but usually I wake up and realize they are completely impossible because I don't have three arms and a lack of gravity.

This interview is brought to you with the support of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts). If you liked the interview above and want to help ensure that PIFA becomes an annual event please Like their Facebook Page and Follow them on Twitter!

Alexandra Silber

Karen Fuhrman