Simon Chaban is an elite performance acrobat specializing in double-ended fire staff. His world class act takes the art of fire spinning to new heights, described as “primordially white-knuckling” and “impressively fearless” by the SF Bay Times.
A naturally gifted athlete, Simon performed his first back flip at the age of six. Driven by an innate love for circus and live performance, he made the most of San Francisco’s diverse performing arts scene, training in; circus, martial arts, dance, juggling, stage combat, physical comedy, and magic. He has apprenticed with the Moscow Circus’ Sergey Zenov (Russian acrobatics), Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka (taiko drumming), and Master Lu Yi (Chinese acrobatics).
His primary art form, “staff-manipulation” is entirely self-taught. It started when deciding if a long stick could be used as a juggling tool, and then launching a broom-handle into the air. After a few initial experiments, the pole-vaulting, foot juggling and manipulation ensued. As a result, Simon’s unique style of performance was created.
Simon has performed as a solo and ensemble artist. In 2005, he performed with the New Pickle Family Circus in which he appeared doing hoop diving, acro jump rope, fire and even tap dancing. In 2006, he landed a lead role with Switzerland’s Circus Monti for their season tour undertaking two solo acts, a drum duet, an acrobatic lead, character work and group choreographer. A step outside the world of circus included honoring japanese tradition at the 30thInternational Taiko festival, performing mime technique with Kinetic Theory ensemble theatre, and stunt work for visual media projects. Recently, in 2009, Simon played a role in the Crucible’s Fire Ballet, combining his dance and fire skills for an original piece as a vampire.
Simon’s presentations are inspired by music, movement styles, and life experience. He believes a flame burns inside us all, with an underlying spirit for perfection. He feels, being onstage is the honor of presenting raw human effort, with the element of chance. The chance on one’s own abilities, and the chance of the audience accepting it.