Top 10 Moments from Circus Island 2021 Artist Residency by John Early


Top 10 Moments from Circus Island 2021 Artist Residency

By John Early

What a wild and beautiful journey throughout our entire three month Circus Island Artist Residency at El Pital on the magical Isla Ometepe! It’s always so hard to pick the ‘top moments’ from a Residency – especially one that spans three months during a global pandemic – but the votes are in and we’ve tallied our favourites including some honourable mentions.

We’re already looking forward to our next cacao fueled Circus Island Residency on Isla Ometepe! 

Photography by Therese Lowton

1 – The Renegade Burlesque Night in Kush Cabana

It was supposed to be a rare, chill Friday night off to rest from an epic week of training and classes. But everyone was keen for a spicy night (led by Residents Ian, Sofia and Regan) to ignite the senses with playful shenanigans, so a renegade Burlesque Cabaret was added to the schedule! Starting with a beautiful consent and tantric touch drop-in led by Bodh Samueli, the night continued into playful strip teases, sensual acro and aerial hammock performances and a parody skit on overly sexual reiki practitioners.


2 – The Men’s Circle Māori Haka

Our Circus Island Residency facilitated a weekly Men’s and Women’s Circle. Guest Teacher Cyrus Henry, Founder of Tamataane Men’s Retreat, was leading the Men’s circle and brought in the wisdom from his native Māori culture from New Zealand in a progressive series. It introduced the language, connection of brotherhood with the earth as well as the infamous Haka chant and dance. Cyrus had designed a custom chant just for Residency that the men performed alone to the waters and volcanoes of Ometepe at the end of the first month. It was one something none of the residents will forget. 

Cyrus Henry, Founder of Tamataane Men’s Retreat, is teaming up with Garrett Rokosh, Founder of Social Architect this coming May 31 – June 4 for a 5 day men’s retreat. Email [email protected] to find out more.

Photography by Therese Lowton

3 – Blindfolded for a Day in Community 

Friday morning ecstatic dance is like Momentom’s weekly church mass. It’s also become common to move in the silent space with a blindfold to go deeper into one’s own movement and trust. In the third week, Momentom Cofounder John Early ended up continuing on throughout the entire day with a blindfold that sparked other residents (shoutout to Venus, Madi and Chris) to try it out and tap into a wider connection with the other senses, radical trust and support from the community in a total new experience of perception. 


4 – Blindfolded Dinner with Soundoff Sensory Journey

It was a full sensorial experience that kicked off with a blindfolded meditation (led by Bodhi), walking people to their dinner seats, putting on SoundOff Headphones with a live sound journey by Ricky Saenz and an incredible four course dinner curated by head vegan chef Luisma!

Photography by Therese Lowton

5 – Cacao Everything!

What happens when Momentom takes over a cacao plantation paradise on an isolated volcanic island? Well, a LOT of chocolate happens! El Pital being our home base for Circus Island including their infamous Cacao Bar led to daily impromptu chocolate feasts, human cacao mandalas, incredible collective cacao ceremonies and weekly chocolate tours to learn the magic of cacao and issues in the global chocolate trade (thank you Justin for your wisdom!). Eating chocolate for all of us will never be the same!

Photography by Therese Lowton


6 – The First Sound Healing and Vocal Sound Jams

Our first sound healing following our opening ecstatic dance turned into the most powerful impromptu jam with Cyrus on handpan, classically trained Janice Martin on violin, Laila on flute, Jonny K on guitar and Therese working the singing bowl and tuning forks on everyone. It was like everyone knew to bring their instruments to the dance!

Honourable sound healing mention to the vocal sound play night jams that Cyrus and Therese hosted that felt like they not only opened up everyone’s vulnerability to channel any sound from each person’s mouth but also opened up a portal of sonic frequency that kept everyone buzzing through the morning!

Photography by Therese Lowton


7 – Our Crossdressing Fire Jam Bohemian Rhapsody Blastoff!

Noone could stop smiling and laughing looking up to the dinner buffet line one night to suddenly see half the Residency look like they just stepped off the stage from Rocky Horror Picture Show (shout out to the Colorado Crew and Miss Regan Powers for her abundance of costumes and fishnet stockings). It created a buzz and energy that followed through into our first Friday Night fire jam and finished with the most incredible rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody that recurred throughout the rest of residency in full Freddie Mercury singalong power!


8 – Sacred Clowning with Alex Payaso

With all the deep work and introspection that happens in Momentom Residency (from tantra classes, daily meditation / asana, plant medicine ceremonies, etc) it always surprises residents that some of the most transformative and challenging work arises during our sacred clowning classes. Hosted by our Colombian Street Clown, Alex Payaso helped us tap into the many emotional states of our inner child and the importance of using connection to relate to ourselves and others on and off the stage. 

Photography by Therese Lowton

9 – Women’s Circle Nature Photoshoot

For International Women’s Day, Momentom Cofounder Therese Lowton led our weekly Women’s Circle with a nature photo shoot in the jungle. Nothing connects oneself with nature, or collective vulnerability like being witnessed in your most simplest and truest form. 

Photography by Therese Lowton

10 – Final Cabaret Fundraiser for the Local Clinic

We teamed up with our neighbourhood Los Cuchillos clinic to not only raise funds for new medical supplies but also connect with and inspire the local community with an amazing free Cabaret showcasing our Residents and art forms from around the world! It was an incredible evening of music, face painting, aerial arts, fire flow arts and more that ended with a giant pre dinner gratitude circle with everyone (including a giant salsa dance off and final Bohemian Rhapsody singalong!).

Photography by Therese Lowton


Honourable Mentions:

  • Shaboomi rocking his massage table for 6 hours of free massages right next to the DJ at our Full Moon Gathering.
  • Our Flash Mob Art Night (led by Kawahe) at Xalli our cowork space to Support Francesca after her moto accident. Nothing helps heal the soul like group hugs and artistic cocreations!
  • Ivan’s Saballo’s amazing Full Moon performance as part of our Local Artist Scholarship (you can watch his capture of his time HERE).
  • John Early’s Cabaret Skit that merged an Indiana Jones themed adventure into a battle of the Nicaragua Chocolate Brands (El Pital vs Casa Oro) and ended in a cacao love story happy ending.
  • All of the incredible farm tours, jungle medicine knowledge and cacao knowledge shared to us regularly by local plant wisdom keeper Ramon and El Pital manager Justin.
  • A HUGE blast of love out to the Resident Rockstars who stayed and extended for the entire three month Residency: Mateo, Venus del Mar, Magelona and Bodhi!


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