Not sure if we are as good as we say we are?
Here is what other people have said about our work.
CIRCA at PuSh Festival 2011
Review posted by Anny Chih – January 19th, 2011
The show starts with a beautiful specimen of a man throwing himself on the ground as if he’s a separate being altogether and his body is an object made for this sort of thing. He begins to move what seems to be every muscle in his body one at a time with the character you’d find in a drama combined with the fluidity of dance and rigid structure of a calculated machine all at once. I could feel my pupils dilate.
Not once was I bored during the 80 mesmerizing minutes of Circa’s self-titled performance. The set includes a wide arrangement of different styles and moods and it’s all amazing?—?from the quirky redhead spinning hoops, twisting her arms, and showing the curiosity of a four-year-old as she contorts and chases her body, to the strong muscular man determined to stay in the moving spotlight while exerting enough effort to make MY neck cramp watching him as he does something as simple as raising his arm.
This is not what you normally think of when you think of a circus or even acrobatics. At least, when I think of acrobatics I usually picture the rubber band troupes that fly across the air and land on each other’s shoulders as though they weighed about as much as a helium balloon. Circa on the other hand showcases the strength behind each individual movement; you can see the dedicated effort behind every twitch, stretch, jump, and bend. In this small venue (UBC Frederic Wood Theatre), you can also see the strands of hair that remain floating in the stage light after a series of lifts and pulls by the head. I especially love that both the men and women act as base supports for each other. They walk all over each other as if the person on the bottom is a shifting building and the person on top can always find another arm, leg, neck, shoulder, back, or muscle to explore.
I don’t want to continue describing the entire show (you should just go see it for yourself!) but there is one more thing I want to mention. My favourite act is the woman who danced on a vertical rope. I realize that sounds weird, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. She lifted herself and climbed up with only the strength in her one hand and moved, contorted, stretched, balanced and fell gracefully across this hanging rope as if she was suspended in water. She moved beautifully and with such fearless security in her movement that I couldn’t help but be thoroughly impressed.
When the show came to its end the entire theater stood up to clap, cheer, and clap some more. The five performers had to come out to bow two more times before we finally let up.
CIRCA – Twisting and Turning
And leaving us yearning for more …
Review by Evan Pynes, 23 February 2011
The February 19th show given by Circa was jaw-dropping, to say the least. Most definitely a must-see performance if you ever get the chance. Despite the certain preconceptions about a ‘circus’ show, this is not your typical big top circus; there are no tigers jumping through flaming hoops, or red nosed clowns playing jokes on each other for the crowd’s amusement. No, at this performance we were exposed to some of the best acrobats, tumblers and dancers the world has to offer.
The choreographies are of such precision that you can’t help but watch in amazement as a performer is used like a human jump rope, her face coming within millimeters from the ground, or applaud as the performers stack themselves upon their shoulders three bodies high. This is just a small sample of what was performed for the audience.
What makes Circa’s performances so interesting, other than the high stakes of their stunts, is the different mix of elements found within the routines. Not just flips twists and turns, but the delicate and precise movements which at other times just pour out raw power and emotional expression reaching out to the crowd and sharing those feelings with us. One of the many aspects Circa is acclaimed for is its ability to blend contemporary dance with advanced acrobatics, also mixing in a little humour at times to lighten things up. The show has the ability to make you sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will happen next.
The music which accompanied the show added to its effect on our own feelings as the rhythm and beat were completely synchronized with the movements of the performers carrying the audience along with it. Not a small task, to be synchronized not only to each other but to a soundtrack that does not wait for anyone.
It is a brilliant exemplification of trust to see these performers know there will be someone there to catch them when they fall. The show was a beautiful metaphor for life, with a trapeze routine that reminded us of life’s fragile balance, or a hanging rope routine that showed us how we can find ourselves in opposite situations: restricted at one moment and yet completely free the next.
Circa is a Brisbane based circus troupe that was formed in 2006 which tours all over the world with multiple troupes. It offers training workshops to anyone interested, unfortunately they are based in Australia, so save up your money and pack your bags if you ever feel like running away to join the circus.
CIRCA – Dance
The New York Times, 27 February 2011
Review by Roslyn Sulcas
You might feel, along with Yaron Lifschitz, the artistic director of CIRCA, the nouveau cirque troupe coming to the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, that circus is – as he put it in an article last year – generally “cluttered with lycra and smoke machines.” (Not to mention all those animals and clowns). Instead Mr Lifschitz offers his streamlined ensemble of seven in simple body tights, doing far-from-simple things with their bodies to a soundtrack that includes Sigur Ros, Leonard Cohen and Jacques Brel. There are hoops and ropes and sticks, but mostly there is just astonishing physical mastery. Sequences possess a poetic resonance that brings these performances closer to dance than to the big top.
61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes
Oz Baby Boomers, 21 May 2009
Review by Sandra Bowden
This title is not a metaphor. Like Snakes on a Plane, what you see is what you get. And these 60 minutes equal an hour of hilarity, incredible stunts, and ?ve people entertaining everyone from toddlers to grandparents.
David Sampford, Mali de Goey, Freyja Edney, Lachlan McAuley and Lewis West belong to Circa, a troupe rede?ning the concept of circus performance. They perform an astounding range of acts including juggling, acrobatics, balancing, and tumbling. They add lovely touches of humour, silliness and surprise. A screen on the side of the stage counts down the seconds … the performers count through the acts. Some last a few seconds, some more than a minute. Can they really make it in time?
The action doesn’t let up, and you will ?nd yourself in a state of almost permanent applause. You will laugh, cheer and, if you’re very lucky, even become part of the show. Occasional boo-boos were skillfully blended into the performances in a funny, charming way. In fact, it added to the experience to see that these incredibly accomplished and talented young people were able to slip up and keep going.
Enhanced by clever mixes of music, the performers banter and engage with each other and the audience. They look like they are having enormous fun. There are many wonderful moments, but as a great deal of the magic is in the unexpected, I won’t give away too much. But I must acknowledge “Great Australian Tragedies as Expressed Through Interpretive Balance” (or words to that effect)!
On a serious note, it is a wonderful opportunity for Boomers to take grandkids to see just how amazing, powerful, versatile and beautiful the human body can be. In a world of CGI, instant grati?cation and reality television, it’s also a potent reminder of what the individual can achieve with dedication, perseverance and passion — and no doubt, a fair bit of pain. It made me want to run away and join the Circa.
Wunderkammer – Chamber of Wonders
ourbrisbane.com, 15 September 2010
Review by Katherine Lyall-Watson
A wunderkammer is a cabinet of curiosities or a chamber of wonders and that’s exactly what Circa presents in its brand new show, premiering at Brisbane Festival.
This is fantastic entertainment: shocking at times, thrilling, sexy, beautiful, moving and captivating throughout. Wunderkammer is the perfect show for the QUT Festival Theatre. The huge wall of the Brisbane Powerhouse is an imposing backdrop and is beautifully lit by Jason Organ to give an urban grunge effect that juxtaposes with the burlesque beautifully.
Yaron Lifschitz has once again done a phenomenal job creating and directing this show. He makes dark and humorous stories from human bodies doing acts that beggar belief. And, for Wunderkammer, he’s been able to work with all the artists in the Circa ensemble, so we have seven fearless performers on stage, each showing absolute focus and commitment to the production.
Wunderkammer is circus mixed with burlesque. The burlesque influence means that stripping is a motif throughout the show, but it’s done so that it confronts or amuses instead of just titillating. (There is no actual nudity on stage, but the performers do get very close to it.) Music is also an integral part of the show and the soundtrack is fabulous.
I was disturbed by a number of the vignettes – but disturbed in a good way: in a way that made me reconsider some of my attitudes and assumptions. One of the most shocking and poignant moments for me was seeing a woman trying to make sound from her body before a man put his hand into her mouth and carried her off stage by her teeth. This could have been the basis of a whole play or book, but the story of the silenced woman was told in a couple of minutes and was all the more harrowing for it.
Don’t be put off by the dark moments: they are counterbalanced by a whole lot of whimsy and beauty. There was laugh out loud humour, audible gasps as acrobats ricocheted off each other and plenty of jaw-dropping feats.
In the course of the performance, you’ll see hula hoops used in a surreal burlesque piece, watch a trapeze duo where the woman wears spiky stiletto heels and see an aerial display that has you white-knuckled for the artist suspended so high against the Powerhouse’s brick wall, with nothing to break her fall. There is high voltage tumbling, some gross business with balloons, lots of stripping and an incredible strong man.
This is sexy, adult circus. If you do take children, be prepared for some frank discussion afterwards.
On Air – An Uplifting Journey
Review by Denise Richardson,
The Courier Mail, 14 June 2010, p 53
An uplifting journey.
Nimble Acrobats give kids a reason to gasp and to laugh. On Air, Circa’s contribution to the Out of the Box children’s festival, takes a delightfully whimsical look at flight.
Carefully crafted by artistic director Yaron Lifschitz, with dramaturgy by Polley Rowe, this aerial show presented in association with the Sydney Theatre Company, is also an entertaining and at times poetic work of physical theatre.
Playing in the rehearsal studio of the Playhouse QPAC, the audience is directed to the magical world of the circus along a path marked on the floor. A ribbon of lights circumscribes the intimate performance arena, situated at the centre of a colourful spread of floor cushions. Smokey haze permeates the space, which slowly fills with parents and young children.
Three acrobats, Bianca, Caz and Julian, enter and chat informally to the young members of the audience.
Long swathes of white cloth, (or Tissu in circus language), are then untied to hang down from the roof and the flying begins. In carefully choreographed, fluid movements showing great agility and strength, the three performers repeatedly wind themselves up in the cloth. Wrapping their legs and bodies around and through it, they then hang, drop or slide, sometimes with frightening velocity toward the floor – accompanied by gasps of appreciation from the audience.
Trampoline, trapeze, ring (lyra), rope (Corde Lisse) and finally a Chinese pole fixed floor to rood, are all used in smoothly linked sequences that are performed with as much dramatic flair as physical skill.
Much of the physicality and comedy is structured around the seemingly impossible quest to grab a slivery noose, which is suspended in the centre of the space and is always moving elusively just out of reach. This simple dramatic construct has the young audience enthralled and actively involved from the start, as the noose seems to take on a life and character of its own.
Musician Chris Vik creates his very whimsical soundscape by mixing audio samples with his own compositions, as well as with soundtracks of children’s voices. It is an evocative blend that together with the light show enlivens both the physical and the dramatic.
On Air is perfectly pitched to an under 6-year-old audience, although as one of its not-so-young members, I also found myself caught up in the light-heated drama and spectacle of the piece.
Unsurprisingly, there are plans to include On Air in a future Sydney Theatre Company education season, which is likely to tour.