I met Caitlin Matanle, aka Spinnabel Lee, at the Blogcademy in Washington, DC last year. She and I hit it off right away with our shared love of theatre and performing! Not to mention, she has killer style — can you say spiderweb dress? Yes please!
Not only is she an amazing performer, but Caitlin is a badass business babe who runs her own entertainment company, a teacher, blogger, podcast host, festival director, and the list goes on and on! I don’t know how she does it! But now I’m going to turn it over to her… read on to find out more!
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Caitlin “Spinnabel Lee” Matanle, and I run (and perform for!) my Washington, DC-area contemporary circus and fire dancing company, Spinnabel Lee Entertainment LLC. Personally, I am a multi-prop fire performer, hula hoop dancer and multi-personality costumed character. I also contract stilt walkers, fire eaters and breathers, and additional entertainers for my company. I produce entertainment for a variety of public and private events (mostly for adults – think weddings, corporate events, and the like).
I do lots of other things, too! I teach private hula hoop dancing lessons, I am the assistant manager of online content for the Flow Arts Institute (an organization that furthers flow arts — performance arts such as hula hooping, poi, and other types of prop manipulations — experience and education around the world), and I am one of the directors for FLAME Festival (the Southeastern U.S.’s largest fire arts festival). I also work on the staff for The Jellyvision Show (a podcast for creative entrepreneurs) and as a co-host for Breaking Business Podcast (another business-centric podcast to be released this fall!).
What made you want to do what you do? How did you get to where you are today?
I have always wanted to be in show business, even when I was a shy child convinced I would be on Broadway when I grew up. I did dance and theatre but stopped in high school. I was in a couple of college productions, but didn’t really give it much thought.
In 2006, I was traveling in Guatemala and went to a party where a few of the hosts spun fire poi for the guests. I was absolutely mesmerized and knew I had to learn. When I went home, I ordered a set of (ridiculously heavy and bruise-inducing) practice poi online and set out to find some instructional videos. The problem was, YouTube at the time was nowhere near the treasure trove of knowledge it is today — all I could find were a couple of hard-to-understand videos, and I quickly gave up.
What has been your favourite past project/performance so far, and why?
Do you have a “war story” from your performing past that you’d be willing to share?
What’s coming up next for you? Do you have a project on the go, or one coming up in the near future?
What are your goals for the future?
What words of advice would you give to a young person who would like to do what you do and follow in your footsteps?
Don’t quit your day job! I’m half-kidding… but really, any endeavor where you’re in business for yourself will require serious hustle — more than you can ever imagine. Entrepreneurship is truly not for the faint of heart.
Where can we find you online?
Thank you so much for sharing, Caitlin!
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