On Saturday January 16, I went to see Circus Now: International Contemporary Circus Exposure 2016 at the NYU Skirball Center in New York City. This incredible show cannot be put into words, but I will try my best. It was a series of three acts from three different countries (USA, England, and Sweden), none of which were connected, but each added its own element: dramatic, fun, breath stopping…
The Dinner of our Discontent (Aloft Circus Arts, USA): “Get out of my house.” Those are the only words anyone said in the entire act. Even though the performers did not speak much, they definitely had a lot to say. The skills alone were incredible, and the set added even more. As an aspiring aerialist, this act was straight up inspiring. The company set up the stage as a dining room, and what came next was unbelievable. We were led to believe that a couple had died. The family gathered for their eulogy and ended up getting in a fight. What followed was an absolutely beautiful combination of acro and aerials, hanging and fighting on chandeliers, climbing, dropping, performing on a metal chain hanging from the ceiling, and dive rolling onto the table and sliding across. I thought the act was a beautiful representation of exactly what you should not do in your dining room.
Water on Mars (Water on Mars, Sweden): Who knew you could make a juggling act so exciting with just a couple of rolls of tape? This dynamic trio was obviously there to have fun! Juggling dozens of clubs and rings continually through the act. How you ask? The tape! They were continually taping clubs and rings together right there on stage! They took juggling to an entirely new level, literally: they were juggling in two highs! The way they set up the stage reminded me of a preschool of some sort filled with toys, bins with toys, and even more toys; but instead of “toys”, there are clubs, rings, and balls. They even did their own sound work, continually moving the iPod around, and changing songs. To help make the point that they weren’t your average everyday jugglers, they ended by juggling open water bottles, rolls of toilet paper and, of course, bags of chocolate that they threw into the crowd. This act undoubtedly deserved their standing ovation, but I’m sure the chocolate helped. But I have to say, I felt sorry for the clean up crew.
Bromance (Barely Methodical Troupe, England): This act can be interpreted in many different ways. How to shake someone’s hand, how to deal with a love triangle… These three insane UK acrobatic, parkour, dance machines absolutely wowed everyone in the audience. They also may have scared everyone more than just a little bit, but throwing someone from one person to another does that occasionally. This act had the perfect balance of fun and seriousness, and to help ensure this they would continually change the music and converse about what was going on. And as if that wasn’t enough, aside from doing life threatening acro, there was an absolutely beautiful cyr wheel act. To sum it up in two words: absolutely stunning.
I hope this gives you some idea of how amazing this performance really was, but like I said it’s nearly impossible for me to describe the wonder of it as I experienced it. Aloft Circus Arts, Water on Mars, and Barely Methodical Troupe definitely helped me put into perspective the level of skill and invention possible in the circus world.