Center for Social Entrepreneurship

at Middlebury

Nick Zelle ‘18.5

HeadshotNick Zelle
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Comparative Literature

Nick is a freshman at Middlebury College, planning to major in Comparative Literature. He finds this to be a particularly fascinating area of study, because it is an intimate and honest lens through which to see the diverse ways people synthesize their lives and surroundings. He sees literature as a distinct art form, reflective of the people and cultural context from which it comes.

From Minneapolis, Minnesota, he has also lived in Québec City for a year and a half after graduating high school in order to study contemporary circus arts at l’École de cirque de Québec.

This professional training was the culmination of a life long passion for circus arts (particularly aerial disciplines), which he hopes to continue in an evolving capacity throughout his life. His most significant and inspirational experiences in the circus world include his involvement as a coach and performer for the Xelias Aerial Arts Studio and Company as well as his four summers touring New England with a youth performance troupe. In his senior year of high school, Nick had the privilege to travel to Havana to take part in an international circus festival and in a week of workshops, which led to an exchange program between the host circus and the Vermont-based touring circus with which he traveled.

Through his experience in the circus world as a performer and coach in community outreach programs in Minneapolis, Havana and New England, he is convinced of the transformative power of arts as an agent of social change, particularly the strengthening of intercultural understanding and empowerment of individuals and communities.

He can envision himself becoming involved with a “social circus” (a circus pedagogy program with a social mission), and he is excited for the ways this summer will inform this interest as well as his more general conviction for the social betterment, in the many ways that this can manifest.

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