The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday August 15th

‘Circa,’ the next generation of circus performers, visits Memorial Hall

With death-defying acrobatics, worldwide fame and a knack for connecting with audiences, Circa is the circus of the future.

On international tour, the contemporary circus company will perform in Memorial Hall tonight and Wednesday.

attend ‘circa’

Time: 7:30 p.m. tonight and Wednesday
Location: Memorial Hall

The company, which is from Australia, aims to transform the popular impression of circus acts by combining acrobatics with modern dance.

On its first visit to UNC, the company will perform the self-titled piece “Circa.”

The work is a combination of three of the company’s most acclaimed acts, said Thomas Kriegsmann, Circa’s international representative to the U.S.

“People feel like they stop breathing two minutes into the show and don’t start breathing again until the bows,” Kriegsmann said.

He said Circa brings an experimental mindset and simplistic beauty to its acrobatics that have traditionally been unfamiliar to the circus performance world.

“In the past we’ve seen circuses that are guided by nonsense and over-trained animals,” he said.

“Now (Circa) has accomplished the true talent of the performer and touches the audience.”

Ellen James, marketing manager for the office of the executive director of the arts, said Circa has always been on the organization’s radar.

When she saw the company’s performances on YouTube, she said she knew they would be great to bring to campus.

“Students are looking for something new and interesting, and Circa fulfills those requirements,” she said. “Bringing them in was a no-brainer.”

And Circa’s performers — all from Australia — have mastered this artistry. Most of them have trained in acrobatics since they were six years old, Kriegsmann said.

Many have years of experience as street performers, giving them a personal rapport with audiences.

“These performers are extraordinary because one wrong move, and their career is over,” Kriegsmann said.

He also said that the company’s dancers are a new breed.

“They’re representative of a new generation of circus artists that have been graduating circus schools in Australia,” he said.

“They are much more dynamic and have an expressive, experimental commitment to circus.”

David Alan Cook, instructor at the Ballet School of Chapel Hill, said Circa’s incorporation of dance is an important one.

“The more we incorporate dance into our lives, the better off we are,” he said. “That’s why people come to see dance — so for a few minutes they can dance through these people.”

Kriegsmann said audiences who watch Circa perform will have a unique experience.

“This circus still thrills the audience the same way that someone shooting out of a cannonball did,” he said.

“But now the audience will see people testing their minds and bodies in a spectacular way.”

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