Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Tour de force from down under stretch the laws of nature in a stunning display combining contemporary dance and acrobatics.
I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself in for here. An Australian troupe, on a world tour, stopping off in Edinburgh with a show that explores the potential of the human body, its shapes, form and movement. What sort of theatre was this? In fact, it turns out to be nearer circus than theatre, but maybe that is just me trying to fit the show into one of the standard genres rather than being prepared to accept that it is actually creating its own. Six athletic performers fuse dance with acrobatic movement to create something quite spectacular. Flipping themselves onto each others shoulders, torsos, even arms at one point, they intertwine bodies in ever more complex shapes and rhythms.
The music is both stylish and uplifting, drum and base beats contrast with amusing French chansons and subtle lighting enhances the mystique of the dancers movements. Mystique best describes some of the pieces as well as you can’t help but be amazed at the suppleness of (some) people. And men are lifted by muscular, tattoed women, emphasizing that this is a relationship of equals in strength.
Above all, you can’t help but marvel at the timing and teamwork of this ensemble. This is important in most forms of performing art – you do, after all, rely on your fellow actors and musicians to do their bit to avoid total chaos on stage. But a failure to gel as a unit when performing the sort of acrobatics Circa have on display will result in far more than a fluffed line or a squeaky chord. At best it will be a pulled muscle, at worst something gets broken. That’s why trust must play such a role in a group of this kind. And trust they all had in each other, by the bucket load. Pleasing to the eye, pleasant to listen to but for heavens sake don’t try this at home.