Mandy is after a poetic, illumined circus. A circus that takes its heart from honesty in form and the vulnerable power of the human body. Mandy is fascinated by secrets, the half-hidden, by in-between spaces and anything that can be climbed, spun, dodged, rolled over, or danced in. Mandy believes in digging low and flying high, in the very small and the very large, in the unexpected and the deeply investigated.
A dancer from age three, Mandy slid sideways from the world of contemporary dance into the world of circus. She began her aerial journey doing guerilla acrobatic dance in and around trees with Tree Project, a group she founded which toured nationally in 2013. At the same time, she dug into rope, fabric, lyra, sling, and unconventional apparati of all kinds, and has since performed 30 feet over an orchestra at the Kennedy Center, fallen out of the Denver Convention Center’s ceiling covered in sparkles as a corporate event aerialist, built a ritual of love and loss in a magical forest as part of an immersive circus-theater troupe, and more. Her dual studies of dance and comparative religion have spooled out into a practice of circus as embodied philosophy, using the body as a way to pose questions of the universe and explore possibilities of being, both individual and collective. She has an abiding obsession with tying herself in knots, with bird women, with unexpected intimacies, with the subterranean and the monstrous.
Mandy has performed and taught aerial arts, contemporary dance, and composition nationally and internationally, from Denver to Atlanta to New York to the Kennedy Center in D.C to Gujarat, India. An ardent collaborator, she has performed with ground and air companies including Frequent Flyers, Control Group Productions, Rainbow Milita, Sinecdoche Dance, Mike Kelley, and many others. As a choreographer, Hackman has created commissioned work for Excessive Realness Queer Dance Festival, for the U.S. Aerial Dance Festival, and as the circus director of circus-theater work Escape Velocity, which premiered in Pittsburgh’s New Hazlett Theater in 2018. Hackman currently resides in Boston, where she is a lead coach at Esh Circus Arts and Commonwealth Circus Center, and is a founding member of interdisciplinary art band Shapeshifter Collective. When not dancing on various objects, you can find many training clients in her body-inclusive fitness project All Our Bodies, or reading tarot for private clients and corporate events.