Pasa Re­views Cir­cus Lu­mi­nous

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

Be­tween the cars and the crowds head­ing away from the Plaza tree light­ing and those des­tined for the Len­sic Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter for Cir­cus Lu­mi­nous, on the night af­ter Thanks­giv­ing, down­town was bustling like any big city. De­spite the traf­fic snarls, the mood was joy­ous, making for a fes­tive at­mos­phere as we en­tered the Len­sic and took our seats for the an­nual aerial cir­cus, pre­sented by Wise Fool New Mex­ico, fea­tur­ing all lo­cal and re­gional per­form­ers. This year’s cir­cus was di­rected by Danielle Red­dick, whose work in ex­per­i­men­tal per­for­mance with the ensem­ble at Theater Grottesco was ev­i­dent in the through-line story about bugs, amoe­bas, and other wig­gly life forms not al­ways ap­par­ent to the naked eye. That plot was re­layed by ex­pres­sive ac­tors play­ing a car­toon­ish science teacher and stu­dents, all of whom had dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions to learn­ing that the creepy crawlers would not scrub off in the shower. En­hanced by a live orchestra play­ing a score com­posed by Jeremy Ble­ich, the story was wo­ven be­tween and into the in­di­vid­ual acts of grav­ity-de­fy­ing ac­ro­bat­ics and dance. Per­form­ers were cos­tumed to sym­bol­i­cally re­sem­ble some of the mys­te­ri­ous crea­tures — in­clud­ing the Wise Fool youth ensem­ble, who stilt-walked while clad in sil­ver jump­suits. The na­ture of the cir­cus car­ried the rest of the theme: As per­form­ers jug­gled while rid­ing four-abreast on a bi­cy­cle, bent them­selves grace­fully around metal hoops sus­pended far above the stage, and shim­mied up and down silk ropes, the abil­i­ties of their bod­ies seemed more in­sect-like than hu­man.

A few tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties with pro­jec­tions marred the open­ing-night pro­duc­tion, such as a screen­saver of a desert mesa that popped up be­hind the aeri­al­ists — fol­lowed by desk­top icons. One of the jug­glers had a few misses with bowl­ing pins, and took a tum­ble off her uni­cy­cle, but the sea­soned per­former in­te­grated her goofs into a bit of slap­stick and the show went on. Sarah Jane Moody came out twice with a clown rou­tine that was sub­tle but funny, as she mum­bled and gen­tly tum­bled her way to un­der­stand­ing the bug theme. The 3 HC Holy Faith break-danc­ing crew en­gaged the au­di­ence with high-en­ergy head spins and other im­pres­sive ways of twist­ing and stack­ing their bod­ies, some of which were ex­e­cuted by a very small boy, Ricky Ro­driguez Jr., the son of one of the mem­bers. The ac­ro­batic per­for­mances by the Wise Fool Com­pany were stel­lar, es­pe­cially “Too Big to Be Small,” in which four women in ex­quis­ite light blue cos­tumes rem­i­nis­cent of a Max­field Par­rish paint­ing did aerial bal­let on hoops.

What stands out most about Cir­cus Lu­mi­nous is the ev­i­dent ded­i­ca­tion of ev­ery per­former. Chil­dren in the au­di­ence gasped and ex­claimed in amaze­ment, and it was ob­vi­ous that many of them had been look­ing for­ward to the event since the pre­vi­ous Thanks­giv­ing week­end. The strength and stamina re­quired by the per­form­ers to make their moves look ef­fort­less is tremen­dous, and when, to­ward the end of the night, their shak­ing mus­cles be­came vis­i­ble, it made it all the more re­ward­ing to watch what they ac­com­plished. — Jen­nifer Levin

Left to right, Tara Khozein, Kristina Francisco, and Amy Ber­tucci-Ni­eto, Cir­cus Lu­mi­nous 2015; Gabriella Marks Pho­tog­ra­phy

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