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Elena Kirschaum, from Highwire
Entertainment, is a street performer who
has been professionally dropping the
jaws of Folk Festival bystanders with her
incredible skill for years.
Elena fell under the spell of the festival
at a young age and has been performing
"I first witnessed the magic of the Folkie
when I was around three years old," she said.
"As a small kid brought up by our
father, my sister and I did some volunteer
performing and for the past six years we
have been street performers and booked
e positions Elena manages to get
herself in aren't all that sets her apart.
She is one of only a handful of female
street performers in the world.
"It can sometimes be a little
intimidating," she said.
"Because I am dealing with a whole lot
of elements on the street, it can be more
aggressive, but it feels good to know that
I'm representing all the women out there.
"Canberra is probably the only place
in the world that has more female street
performers than male."
e spectacular tricks Elena and her
fellow performers Christopher Zaluski
and Jane Schofield execute together are in
both solo and duo acts.
Elena explained that being a lone
performer on a Canberra street can be a
" ere isn't really a street performing
culture in Canberra," she said. "Street
performing enables a real sense of
freedom. e crowd have not paid to be
there, so if they don't enjoy the show, they
"To hold a crowd and hear them
'ahh-ing' and 'awwing' is a pretty amazing
Adam Hadley is artistic advisor to
the new fringe festival, and the Folkie
atmosphere has captured his heart also.
" e Folkie is a weird little vibrant city
that when you enter, you leave everything
else behind," he said.
"It's quirky, it's different, and it
encompasses all that is not mainstream, it
opens your eyes up to talent that you don't
ordinarily have a chance to be exposed to.
"It's an incredible atmosphere, everyone
is so happy to absorb all of the talent
that surrounds them, and the nation
approaches the festival with a different
objective, it gives folk an unrivalled stage."
e National Folk Festival runs for
five days during the Easter break, with
each day jam-packed with workshops and
sessions designed to immerse visitors in
dancing, singing and make them part of
the vibrant celebration.
is year is set to beat all others, with a
record number of performer applications
received -- more than 99 in total and an
increase in around 10 per cent from the
ere will also be plenty of stalls
providing handmade arts and crafts and
food from all over the world as well as
favourites such as the stock camp, the
session bar and the Instrument Makers
is autumn, release the kindred
musician or performer within and be
swept away with the whimsical magic of
the National Folk Festival.
National Folk Festival
Where: Exhibition Park
When: April 1-5
Cost: Various costs apply
Phone: 6262 4792
"Canberra is probably
the only place in the
world that has more
female street performers
TRICKS: Elena chilling out on Christopher,
with Jane swinging some hoops.
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