Jacob's Pillow will open its 80th Anniversary Festival with Australian circus arts ensemble Circa in the Doris Duke Theatre June 20-24. The company will perform the eponymous evening-length work CIRCA, an artistic compilation of physical theatre, contemporary choreography, aerial dance, and astounding feats of strength and flexibility. Lyn Gardner of The Guardian calls CIRCA "something extraordinary. It's breathtaking, beautiful and sexy…But Circa is also astonishingly moving, its story of human co-operation and frailty emerging through an acro-ballet."
"Pillow audiences will have a sneak preview of the astonishing performers of Circa at our 80th Anniversary Gala. I'm sure they will be hooked," comments Ella Baff, Executive and Artistic Director of Jacob's Pillow. "This company merges emotion, wit and humor, and the exquisite beauty of the human body in a completely unique way. Not to mention that this performance is in our intimate Doris Duke Theatre, so audiences will have an up close view of the action."
Circa's performance style is a signature combination of highly connected acrobatic sequences; intricate, fast-paced tumbling scenes; and hauntingly beautiful contemporary movement. CIRCA, a work for seven performers, draws on material from some of Circa's most acclaimed works including The Space Between, by the light of stars that are no longer…, and FURIOSO, which were all created by Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz in collaboration with the company. The varied score includes music by Leonard Cohen, Cake, Jacques Brel, Venetian Snares, and others.
Lifschitz comments: "We are all looking for some way to make our work more powerful. In the actuality of circus, in acrobatics, there is immediacy, a danger and a skill that is extraordinary. Many people want to tap into this and use its power….It is Circa's basic script. Rather than add circus to choreography, we discover choreographic possibilities inside circus."
From Brisbane, Australia, Circa has toured to 22 countries across five continents to critical acclaim. The company members come from diverse backgrounds, with specialties ranging from aerial work to contortion to hoop diving. Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times has praised Circa for its "astonishing physical mastery" and "a poetic resonance that brings these performances closer to dance than to the big top."
Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, University of Queensland and National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) where he was the youngest director ever accepted into its prestigious graduate directors course. Since graduating, Lifschitz has directed over 60 productions including large-scale events, opera, theatre, physical theatre and circus. He was founding Artistic Director of the Australian Museum's Theatre Unit, Head Tutor in Directing at Australian Theatre for Young People and has been a regular guest tutor in directing at NIDA since 1995.
On Sunday, June 17, members of Circa will lead a Master Class for intermediate/advanced dancers ages 16 and older. Pre-registration is required; for more information on the Master Class, call 413.243.9919.
On Saturday, June 23 at 4pm, Circa's Associate Director DarCy Grant will discuss how the company translates circus for the concert stage in a free PillowTalk titled Where Dance and Circus Meet.