by Alix Cohen
Almanac Dance Circus Theatre-Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes
Created and Performed by: Nicole Burgio, Nick Gillette, Ben Grinberg, Adam Kerbel
“…That’s when I decided I’m not gonna be defined by one exceptional moment…” Leaps of Faith is a visually loosey goosey theater piece with as much dialogue as dance/ acrobatics. Vignettes are loosely bracketed by a unison “We the seafarers start a new world together and offer our thanks to the air and the sea…” having no obvious relationship with anything else, but poetic.
Physical configurations- balancing upside down and sideways on one another’s shoulders, hands, heads, backs, legs, flipping over, tumbling, lifted, tossed, folded…punctuate communication as two of them discover the other, like minded two. “It’s nice to know there are other weirdos in the world….Are they weird or are we weird?” one asks licking another’s head, then standing on his confederate’s shoulders, flipping over onto his hands. Like a group of rowdy kids, they then gamble through the audience kissing heads. Nick (the most fun to watch) even scales a balcony with Errol Flynn agility. “You thought you were protected up there, didn’t you?!”
“We should commemorate this date with a t-shirt…what if we start the day at 5 am or 2 am?” One holds another horizontally while a third does a handstand on his back. Nicole wants to change her name to Wintoba. They all change their names. The only Set is a large, beaten up couch over which they tumble, on which they sit or lay drinking tea, reflecting.
Drugs, death, complicity, and sex come up. “My concern is that I don’t want to sleep with each of you equally…”
Part Pilobolus, part Mr. Gaga (the choreographer, not the vocalist), the troop is quirky, nimble, and original with parentheses of wit and sections of overall puzzlement. Original music composed and performed by Patrick Lamborn adds atmosphere.
Race Horse Company Disco 3000
Performers: Kalle Lehto, Susanna Liinamaa, Rony Hamalainen, Saku Makela, Teemu Riihela, Teemu Virtanen
Director: Rauli Kosenen
This evening’s second company is much more what we think of as “circus,” yet also considerably less entertaining. Except for a few, brief gyrations, there’s nothing disco about the act but the periodic use of mirrored balls. We see a bit of trapeze work, some skilled teeter totter flips, floor acrobatics, multiple hula hoops and larger rings in which performers spin. There’s a lot of repetition. Vertically held mattresses are used to cover the passing of props or laid flat in piles to cushion somersaults. Two artists on roller skates distract but do nothing more. Oh, and there’s juggling.
Contemporary circuses can be delightful- or not. The term having broadened considerably, one never knows, but at least the art’s kept alive.
(Photos courtesy of the companies)
Circus Now-International Contemporary Circus presents
Almanac Dance Circus Theatre-Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes and
Race Horse Company Disco 3000
The Skirball Center March 4, 2017
Venue Calendar: http://nyuskirball.org/