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Circa (Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

It’s entirely appropriate that this compilation show from Brisbane based ‘new circus’ company Circa begins with music from Brian Eno’s "Apollo" (soundtrack to a documentary about the early Moon shots) - the performers possess a near uncanny ability to defy gravity.
Circa’s signature style is a combination of poetic physical beauty, extraordinary circus skills and an immersive use of sound, light and projection. Extraordinary is right: Over 75 minutes, seven performers fly, leap and flip their way through a variety of movement sequences, provoking admiring gasps from the audience.
Rather than adding circus to choreography, Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz talks of discovering choreographic possibilities within circus. In Billy Smart’s hey-day, drum rolls and jazz hands punctuated displays of physical prowess. With Circa, sequences flow effortlessly together with delicate precision. In one section, sole female member Kimberley Rossi is spun round by her arms and legs, released, let fly through the air and then caught by another performer, who repeats the process. It’s pass the parcel with a human being.

There is no narrative to speak of but it’s possible to divine a sub-text beneath these intense physical transactions; on a simplistic level, this is a show about emotional need and support. Is it circus or contemporary dance? It’s arguably both. The eclectic musical soundtrack - including tracks by Leonard Cohen and Sigur Ros - is a further break from Big Top tradition.

Deservedly, the company received a standing ovation from the ecstatic Lowry audience. 

- Steve Timms


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