Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival

[post 342]

January 6–12, 2014

I don't think I have to tell you that respect for circus has been on the rise, and not only in Europe, where circus schools and shows — both classical and "nouveau" — are thriving. In the United States, we can be grateful for the success of shows in the tradition of the European one-ring spectacle, such as the Pickle Family Circus, the Big Apple Circus, Circus Flora, and the Sarasota Circus. And of course from Canada, with Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, and a national circus school, there's more and more happening on this front.

Dean Evans as "Honeybuns"
Still, most Americans know very little about the "nouveau cirque" movement, so popular in Europe, and especially in France. More of a circus-theatre-dance hybrid, it is about to take what figures to be a major step forward with next month's Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. (Yes, it will be indoors!) With a week of full-length shows, cabarets, hands-on workshops, seminars, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, it promises to have the same game-changing impact as America's first mime festival in 1974, chronicled just three posts ago right here in this very same blogopedia.

Here's a short promotional video:

For more information and videos on the shows and master classes, go here.  (The classes are listed under the programming tab.) The panel discussions and less physical workshops are being coordinated by Circus Now, an advocacy group whose national director is Duncan Wall, author of The Ordinary Acrobat, and can be found here.

And if I might allow myself a shameless plug (of course I can!), I am teaching a three-day physical comedy workshop there:

Physical Comedy
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — January 8, 9, 10 
9:00am – 11:45am 
Aloft Loft (2000 W. Fulton Street ~ Suite F 319~ Chicago, IL ~ 60612)
Each session covers different material. Students may sign up for one, two, or all three sessions.
A crash course in physical comedy vocabulary and its application for clowns, circus artists, and anyone else wanting to bring physicality to their comedy or comedy to their physicality. You will be introduced to a wide variety of skills, including pratfalls, theatrical acrobatics, and slapstick as you work with partners and the physical world of objects. You will have the opportunity to integrate these techniques with character, gag structure, and story. Each session will cover different skills and explore a different comic formula so that the sessions will reinforce one another but it will also be possible to take just one or two.
Prerequisites: Some performance experience and a reasonably sound body highly recommended, but all ages, body types, and levels of experience welcome.
Students should wear loose-fitting clothing they don’t mind rolling around in (e.g., sweat pants; gym shorts, etc.)
Price: $50 for one session; $90 for two; $125 for all three. Full payment via PayPal reserves your place.

And on Thursday at 3:30 I will also be on a panel, "Fail Better: The State of Creative Clowning," with Eric Prath, Adrian Danzig, Molly Plunk, Noel Williams, Alex Suha, and Halena Kays.

Hope to see some of you in Chicago!

No comments: