Joel Melendez & Heidi Kirchofer= Matica Matica was born on December 31st 1999 in Palenque, Mexico upon the meeting of Heidi Kirchofer and Joel Melendez.
In the early days, Matica traveled from Mexico, through Guatemala Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and arriving in Venezuela- Joel's country of origin. They traveled by means of the drums they built, jewelry they made and street performing.
The pair spent 9 months in Venezuela traveling, training, performing, learning traditions and enjoying life. Matica's performances were based in music (percussion) and fire shows. Upon their arrival in the US (2001), Heidi and Joel married. At this time, Matica focused on music and instrument making because of almost unlimited access to materials and tools. Matica Circus saw a great transformation in 2002. The circus show extinguished its' flaming torches and grabbed colorful, family-friendly clubs. Matica also began working with Oddfellows playhouse and the Children's Circus of Middletown.
The couple headed to Mexico and Guatemala for the winter of 2002/2003 to tour, train, and learn local traditions. In 2003/2004 Heidi attended the Hartford Conservatory to "formally" study dance. She also completed a Yoga Teacher Training with NOMAD yogi- Damon Honeycutt. Joel visited Venezuela. A busy summer followed performing and teaching circus skills and playing music.
The couple returned to Venezuela for the 6 month winter season (2004/05) to train in the Carribean sun! At this time, there was a full-blown circus revolution in Venezuela. Matica spent time training with trapeze and the silks at the Carpa (circus training facility) in Caracas and in collaboration with Hector Liscano of Teatro Latente and Monico Moreno's theater/mime troupe at the Universidad Pedagogico de Barquisimeto.
They returned to the US in the spring, found a place in Hartford and started a renegade Unicycle club in the South End. Heidi took the summer off from the Children's Circus to teach her Creative Movement and Music program. Joel continued strongly for his 4th year as uni and rolling artist at the Children's circus. Instruments of the World as formal program was born. In December 2005, the couple returned to Harwinton to take advantage of the space and possibility of playing drums into the night. In the spring, Heidi began to envision Sonic Fire- collaboration began with 12+ other artists.
Matica traveled throughout the summer performing and teaching. Sonic Fire premiered to a large and thrilled audience! Quite a buzz followed and Sonic Fire burns brightly. Heidi began teaching Somatics at the Hartford Conservatory to Musical Theater students. Joel continued in drum classes, drum making, capoeira, circus and body balance at various institutions.
For 2007 Matica returned to the Children's circus- Heidi to stilt-walking and Joel became a teaching artist in the Children's Circus' Advanced Circus Program. Sonic Fire premiered a new show in June that was a huge hit- Sonic Fire, Into the Jungle.
Matica spent late summer '07 touring in Germany, France and Spain. They returned to their various teaching posts at arts' organizations and schools and continued performing. Inti Jack Melendez-Kirchofer was the newest addition to the Matica circus troupe born June 18th 2008 at the Matica abode.
Fall 2009-Matica was excited to announce the newly formed Connecticut School of Circus Arts at Oddfellows Playhouse! A weekly intensive training program for kids 12-18 at Oddfellows Playhouse. Matica had a very busy fall with many performances and full load of teaching in Middletown and other schools.
Matica heads to the Florida Keys in January '10 for street performing and sun!
Fall 2010- Heidi and Joel continue working on Matica's new show- Cirquin'for Health. Joel continues training in Capoeira with Mestre Pinga Fogo and Heidi trains in trapeze, tumbling and inversions at NECCA. They are both very busy performing, creating and teaching.
Winter 2011- Heidi is awarded a scholarship to attend her second Yoga Teacher Training, this time at West Hartford Yoga. She also continues training in trapeze at NECCA. She has also designed and created costumes for Artfarm's new show- "Submerged."
Joel continues with his innovations with the Teeterboard and his training regimen.
Matica's dream of having a studio space to train and share their love of the circus arts was realized in the summer of 2014 when they open Thrive Movement studio. Yahooo!!! see more at www.thrivemovementstudio.net
Matica's performance was raucous and good natured, alternately exciting their audience and calming them with music. The children were delighted by the vast array of exotic instruments and, without knowing it, got a terrific geography lesson. We would happily welcome Matica back to Hartford Public Library again and we encourage other libraries to have them.
Auden di-Corcia-D'Adamato, Children's Librarian, Hartford Public Library