Shira Lee Abergel's Arts Wagon Is Coming to Put on a Free Show in Your Face

Knight Arts Challenge winner Shira Lee Abergel has "always wanted to be a traveling hippie." But it took meeting a circus family while on a road trip for her to understand want this would actually mean.

"The mother was a hand balancer or a stretchy person," Abergel says. "When I asked about their lives, she told me that they go on the road, from gig to gig and whatever else they feel like doing. And wow, I thought that sounded magical."

Unlike most traveling hippies, Abergel has just won a $50,000 grant to fund the traveling carnival of her dreams. But like most traveling hippies, she will not be blowing it all at the deodorant store. Abergel -- currently on tour in New York with Miami's Rosie Herrera Dance Theater -- is a dancer, choreographer, singer, writer and actress (and, what, feline orthodontist?) whose Knight grant will go toward building a wagon that converts into a stage for music, dance and multimedia theater performances.

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B. Caplan