Karina Manta's blog: Circus Runaway (with Joe Johnson)

Sylvia

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This news was first posted tonight in the 2018-19 U.S. Dance thread in GSD starting here - here's the link to Karina's new blog: https://circusrunaway.blog/

Excerpts from the beginning and end of her eloquent "Saying Goodbye" essay:
Maybe you can tell from the title of this blog, but I’m joining the circus—

Which means a lot of things, but mostly it means Joe and I are stepping away from competitive skating.

It’s hard for me to say “retiring” because who knows if this is goodbye forever? We sure don’t. We do know that we feel like we need a change of scenery, and we were recently offered a really incredible opportunity to work with Cirque Du Soleil, so, in June, we’re packing our bags and heading to Montreal to begin working on an exciting project with them—I guess all ice dancers really do end up in Montreal one way or another.
For me, competitive skating has always been—more than anything—the most beautiful way to tell stories. I see this point in my life as a transition and a chance to find new ways to keep telling stories. So, watch for me in Cirque; keep your eyes on the blog, and maybe even look out for a book in a couple years. The possibilities are really endless. I just know, I’ll still be out in the world performing, dancing, and telling stories—I’ll just be doing it in different ways.
 
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Messalina

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Oh, I'll miss them! They definitely voidified the U.S. ice dance landscape. And I hope against hope that I can someday see this Cirque du Soleil show that has been snagging so many skaters.

I also look forward to reading more of Karina's writing. I was psyched to see today that Karina was a finalist in this year's New York Times college essay contest. I'm hoping the NYX also runs the finalists' pieces at some point.
 

skatesindreams

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We were recently offered a really incredible opportunity to work with Cirque Du Soleil, so, in June, we’re packing our bags and heading to Montreal to begin working on an exciting project with them
How wonderful!
I hope I'll have the opportunity to see them perform in the future.
 

Sylvia

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I also look forward to reading more of Karina's writing. I was psyched to see today that Karina was a finalist in this year's New York Times college essay contest. I'm hoping the NYX also runs the finalists' pieces at some point.
Thanks for sharing/posting this!

Retrospective by Nick McCarvel: https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/...-offered-a-platform-and-plenty-of-praise.aspx
In mid-April, ice dancers Karina Manta and Joseph Johnson announced they were stepping away from competition for a whole new adventure, joining the circus… really! In June, they'll head to Montreal to begin working with Cirque du Soleil on a project. Here, we take a trip back to Detroit and the U.S. Championships in January, where Manta and Johnson finished seventh after a spellbinding free dance.
 

once_upon

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I'm sad that they aren't going to be in the competitive field they added so much

They are very talented and will benefit from being a part of Cirque.
 

Sylvia

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@Messalina, Karina tweeted this today in reply to her NYT finalist "Modern Love" essay:

"Excited (and terrified) for you all to see the piece soon💕"
 

Sylvia

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Messalina

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Karina's "Modern Love" essay has been published in the New York Times and is linked in its own thread in GSD :): https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/th...-image-and-her-former-eating-disorder.105650/
Thank you, Sylvia, for the heads-up. :)

I went and read it first thing this morning. As a selfish skating fan, I will miss Karina and Joe so much in competition (I really don't watch any other kind of skating). But I love that they ended their career on a high of great programs and standing ovations and, underscored by the blog and this essay, that Karina is in such a positive place personally. And has Cirque du Soleil in her life and has turned her hand to writing. It's a skating retirement fairy tale. ;)
 

Sylvia

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What it has been like to live in Montréal (August 25, 2019): https://circusrunaway.blog/2019/08/25/what-it-has-been-like-to-live-in-montreal/
A snippet:
... I calculate the days I have left in this place. I try to add up how many different coffee shops I can squeeze into three weeks’ time, and how many parks I have left to visit, and how many chances I’ll get to practice my broken French with strangers.

Maybe I have only fallen in love with this place because I know I cannot stay.
 

dramagrrl

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She is a beautiful writer. As a writer myself, I really appreciate reading her words and her willingness to share them.
 

kalamalka

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That was lovely. And it makes me homesick for Montreal, where I've never lived, but which has always felt like it would be a great place to call home. I hope Karina shares more with us.
 

Sylvia

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Re-posting this exciting news here from the 2019-20 U.S. Dance thread:
Not sure if this belongs here, or a new thread, since technically Karina Manta is no longer competing, but she's written a book which will be published next fall:

The title of Karina's book is All the Things I've Kept from Myself and the expected publication date is in 2021 by Knopf. :respec:

Finding Family - Manta and Johnson’s Creative Freedom Comes Alive in Cirque du Soleil’s AXEL: https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/...om-comes-alive-in-cirque-du-soleils-axel.aspx
Excerpts:
"It's just been a different way to experience something that you love," Johnson said. "And you get to learn all these new skills, and everybody around you is there for a reason and is so excited to share their talent with you. They're just the most wonderful people as far as a workplace goes. It's really given me a new perspective on how to approach athleticism."
The tour has been shut down since March due to the *********-19 *********, but even in quarantine the performers have stayed in touch.
"Karina and I have been doing these group Facebook calls with six or seven of these people at a time, and we do this big stretch class with a bunch of these people who are aerialists and swing artists and jugglers," Johnson said. "And the community, the family that we have there is so amazing."
With shows canceled for the unforeseeable future, the two are quarantining separately – apart since March, this is the longest they've been apart since pairing up in 2014.

The time allows Manta to work on a manuscript about her journey as a skater and queer athlete. She sold her book rights after her essay "I Can't Hate My Body If I Love Hers" appeared in the New York Times' Modern Love College Essay Contest last year.
Javier Raya's SkateProud Instagram Live chat with Karina & Joe (June 16, 2020):
(Note: Karina interviewed Jackie Wong and Asher Hill for SkateProud last week.)
 
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