Local circus arts nonprofit Wise Fool is really getting into the swing of summer with its Bust! intensive classes and performances, an annual occurrence that finds women and gender-nonconforming Santa Feans learning the circus ropes and strutting their stuff this weekend (7:30 pm Friday July 6; 2 pm and 7:30 pm Satuday July 7. $5-$15. Wise Fool, 1131 Siler Road, 992-2588). SFR spoke with Wise Fool board member, youth outreach coordinator and second-year Bust! student Alanna Herrera to get the death-defying details.

So what is Bust!, in your words?

Bust! is a seven-week intensive for women and gender-nonconforming people, and it involves a lot of physical learning but also it really teaches the whole person. It does a lot of diving into learning about ourselves in relation to where we are and how we exist in the world. We have learned a lot of physical circus arts—trapeze stilts, partner acrobatics—and then we've learned lot of other things outside of that. We've had a series of courses called Land and Body, and that's specifically learning more about the Indigenous people who inhabited this land before we were here. We had a movement class. A lot of the classes really empower the individual to feel their way through learning circus arts.

Does somebody have to be in decent shape to be a part of Bust!?

It depends on your definition of 'decent shape,' but no, it's for everybody with every kind of body. You can enter it from whatever level you're at, and the instructors are wonderful about being able to refine the curriculum to suit everybody who's engaged. You can have zero experience with circus and physical work, and you can come in an do something. Really, the thing that brought me back was the people who were involved. It opens up a whole new community.

Can you give us an idea of what the performances will be like?

Every year the performance is very different because it's very student-driven. The people involved in the program are the ones creating the performance with the guidance of the instructors and Wise Fool. This year, the performance is really about connection. It's about us connecting with ourselves, our physical bodies and our emotional selves and our spiritual selves and other people. The layer beyond that is us connecting with the land and the planet we're on. It's all about connection. Part of why I pretty much live at Wise Fool is because I learn something new every day and I feel like it's very much a place that nurtures learning about yourself as you connect to the world. I've grown a lot in the last couple years being involved with this place, and I see everyone around here growing as well.