A performer balances, upside-down, on two other performers sitting on a couch.

Summer 2021 - The Acrobatic Ensemble

Guided by Pig Iron Faculty members Nicole Burgio, Ben Grinberg, and other members of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, THE ACROBATIC ENSEMBLE will bring together movers and makers ready to twist, jump, turn, contort, flip, flop, and otherwise use their bodies as creative tools toward a rigorous and virtuosic collective creation. After a year-and-a-half of moving in confined spaces, this workshop promises to bring performers back into contact with one another, remembering the joy of playing, leaping, and partnering.  

Morning sessions will focus on building flexibility, strength, balance, agility, and a deep sense of one’s own physical foundation through partner and individual acrobatics. Each body will work within their own limitations; there is not a singular standard that must be reached. After lunch, the participants will explore modes of collective physical creation which highlight trust, vulnerability, technique, and strength. After a year without touching, we will explore the electrifying potential of touch and presence within an ensemble. The workshop will culminate in an open showing of material created throughout the workshop. 

Ideal participants will come with a range of acrobatic skillsets, but all will be ready for up to six hours a day of rigorous physical exertion. Artists selected will exhibit sensitivity, curiosity, and a passion for uncovering how much can be communicated through the body.

Pig Iron is committed to following all federal, state and local guidance and restrictions. This document (also linked at the bottom of the page) lays out the protocols and procedures that Pig Iron will follow for The Acrobatic Ensemble workshop. These guidelines are supplementary to any restrictions. However, as of writing, these guidelines are predicated on having less strict guidelines in the future. 

These protocols are written with the assumption that vaccines will be widely available for all participants, instructors and staff. Vaccination will be required for all people who are eligible. 


Monday, July 5: 9:30am-4:30pm
Tuesday, July 6: 9:30am-4:30pm
Wednesday, July 7: 9:30am-4:30pm
Thursday, July 8: 9:30am-4:30pm
Friday, July 9: 9:30am-4:30pm

Monday: July 12: 9:30am-4:30pm
Tuesday, July 13: 9:30am-4:30pm
Wednesday, July 14: 9:30am-4:30pm
Thursday, July 15: 9:30am-4:30pm
Friday, July 16: 9:30am-4:30pm
Saturday, July 17: 9:30am-4:30pm

All times listed are US Eastern Daylight Time.


If you are accepted and pay-in-full by May 15, you are eligible for a $150 discount, resulting in a total tuition of $1050.


Nicole Burgio is a circus artist, performer, and educator. She studied aerial arts at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts while simultaneously attaining a master’s degree in Clinical and Counseling Health Psychology from the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine. Nicole also graduated from the New England School of Circus Arts’ professional track program, focusing in aerial arts and partner acrobatics. She has trained circus extensively with coaches from Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal. Nicole has toured as a solo performer to international festivals, theaters, cruise ships, and televised programming in many countries, including Portugal, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Germany, Scotland, Thailand, and Canada. She has served as an acrobatic consultant, circus coach and ensemble member to Philadelphia’s Almanac Dance Circus Theater. Her solo evening-length work xoxo moongirl, produced by Almanac, received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won Philadelphia’s Barrymore award for Outstanding Choreography and Movement. In 2018 and 2019, she conceptualized and facilitated Proyecto Colmena, an intensive ensemble program at Casa de Artes Circo Contemporaneo in Mexico City. In 2021, Nicole founded The Ready Room, a hybrid virtual/in-person inclusive learning space designed to empower professionals and non-professionals with flexibility, handstands, balance, and acrobatic training.

Ben Grinberg  a Philadelphia-based performing artist, director, and educator working at the intersection of contemporary circus and ensemble dance theatre. He is the Artistic Director and a co-founder of Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, a Barrymore award-winning and internationally touring physical performance ensemble, and a founding core faculty member at Circadium, the nation’s first certificate granting program in contemporary circus performance. Grinberg’s work has been presented by FringeArts, New York Live Arts, Bill T. Jones, the Mexico City International Festival of Contemporary Dance, Assembly Festival, Circus Now, and more. A graduate of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training and of the University of Pennsylvania, he is on Faculty at the Pig Iron/UArts MFA in devised performance and has often collaborated with Pig Iron Theatre Company, Theatre Horizon, Eiko Otake, and Jaamil Kosoko.