Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival 2015: Part 1

So I’ve been a little tardy with my thoughts on the second annual Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. It’s a real gift to Chicago. You’ll be missing out if you don’t check it out. Shows run until Sunday night so go to chicagocircusfest.com and buy tickets now.

Here is a brief rundown of the shows I’ve seen over the past few days.

The festival started with the Magmanus Show by duo Magmanus. I actually saw them twice. I saw them once on Wednesday night and then again in a free show at Millennium Park on Thursday. The show was a wonderful combination of acrobatics, hand balancing, seesaw mischief, juggling, and dance. The duo are hilarious and sweet. It was neat to see the show in two places. it was really impressive to see them flying through the air on the seesaw with columns behind them in Wrigley Square. They performed three times, twice in Millennium Park.

Magmanus Show

On Thursday night I saw Peter Davison’s Tossed and Found at the Chopin Theater. What a magical show. The show included juggling, object manipulation, dance, and simply a lot of beauty. So many times the show surprised me and took my breath away. It’s a real treat. It harkens back to the age of silent movies. There’s one bit with hats that made me clap in sheer delight.

Following the show, we checked out Australian group Casus and their show Knee Deep at the Athenaeum. The show has incredible acrobatics, lyra, sling, hula hooping with eggs. And so much more. I had chills so many times during this show. What moved me was that these four performers were incredible strong and agile but they managed to convey such vulnerability in the show. What a beautiful exploration of the human condition!

Friday night began with Kate & Pasi’s Suhde at the Chopin. The title Suhde means relationship in Finnish. The show combines foot juggling and hand to hand acrobatics as a couple fight, love, and figure out how to relate to each other. It’s hilarious but with a lot of heart. Kate and Pasi fight over an armchair while she balances on his head. And it was incredible to watch foot juggling and hand juggling while she laid on his back or balanced on his head. Wow!

Then we saw Jamieson Lindenburg’s The Girlie Show at the Chopin. This show was tremendous. It combines burlesque, circus, and live music. I want more shows like this in the world. It was a raunchy joyful celebration of women and the amazing things they can do. The basic premise is that the show is a cabaret of freaks with a bearded lady, tattooed lady, and so much more. There was cyr wheel, tight wire, trapeze, anchor, pole, and wonderful burlesque. And most of the show was done in high heels! Hot damn! Here’s the interview I did with Jamieson Lindenburg about the show for the festival: http://chicagocircusfest.com/2015/05/11/interview-with-the-girlie-show/

Then we topped off the night with the Bindlestiff Family Circus’ Third Coast Cabaret. This show showcased individual acts from all over the US and the world. We were smitten with an object manipulation act by Robert James Webber (i think?). He twirled a broom around his body like it was the most natural thing in the world. So amazing! There was also a beautiful and fun duo trapeze act by Lauren Feldman & Megan Gendell. They managed to convey such joy as they undertook amazing and daring feats. I can’t wait to see what else they have in store when I go back to NY and hopefully see them.

So there’s still time to see these amazing shows. Seriously, go to one. No, go to them all.

I’ll see you there!

That’s all for now!

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