June 14, 2013 |
BEEN THINKING about treating your kids to Cirque du Soleil? To this seasoned Cirque-goer, the new adventure dubbed "Totem" is the most family-friendly of the tent spectacles brought here by the performance-art-minded, French-Canadian nouveau-circus stagers. For starters, the mostly mimed (or exotically mumbled/sung) themes are less obtuse and pretentious, more earthbound and accessible - be it the comic portrayal of the evolution of monkey to man, or the celebration of Native American music and dance.
March 16, 2013 |
This week's new DVD releases take you to worlds of fantasy, filmmaking, and furry heroes. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, Grade B : A young woman is pulled into a magical world of acrobats and artists. The film uses a rather standard boy-meets-girl plot to take the audience on a fanciful journey to a land of acrobats and artists who look at gravity as more of a suggestion than a law. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away should be appreciated like an abstract painting. It's beautiful to look at, but it isn't fully appreciated until you add in your own ideas about what all of the images are trying to say. There are positive and negatives of bringing the stage performance to DVD. It opens up the stage show to an audience who may have never had the opportunity, or the finances, to see one of the live shows.
March 2, 2012
THE PEKING Acrobats, China's largest acrobatic troupe, celebrate an ancient art form that pushes humans to their physical limits. They come to the Keswick Theatre to perform their astounding contortions and gravity-defying stunts. The folk art of acrobatics is rooted in thousands of years of Chinese history and was first popularized during the Ch'in Dynasty in the second century B.C. Today, its practitioners are highly respected in their communities. To master the form, acrobats start training at a very young age, continuing through college, where students can earn a degree in acrobatics.
September 17, 2011
Play. When dance legend Pina Bausch suggested that Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Shantala Shivalingappa work together, she uncapped a fount of joy for the artists and their audiences. These two virtuosos - he in the kind of contemporary dance that fluidly traverses the space between air and floor, and she a stellar exemplar of Indian Kuchipudi dance - delightedly push each other and their musician counterparts into passages of extreme beauty, speed, and refinement. Unfolding on a set of mobile platforms with a grid of moving panels for a backdrop, Play is a digest of game structures and cultural exchanges.
September 2, 2011 |
One show in this year's Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe lineup will surely have both parents and hipsters jostling for tickets: 7 Fingers' Traces . The Montreal-based company, founded by Cirque du Soleil vets Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider, presents an anti-Cirque aesthetic with acrobatics stripped down, maskless, mixed with wall-scaling feats of parkour and a casual vibe that Snider compares to the backstage ambience she saw while growing...
July 26, 2011 |
The marriage of balletic acrobats and symphonic music seems so natural. So why is it only now happening on a regular basis? This week, the Russian National Orchestra visits the Mann Center for three concerts, one of which comes with some semblance of a circus - probably a first in these parts. "I wish we could say that we're geniuses," says Bill Allen, producer of Thursday's appearance by Cirque de la Symphonie. He spent several years backing into the idea of bringing acrobats, jugglers, and trapeze artists into concert halls - and now has a calendar of 60 engagements a season.
June 17, 2011 |
As she cartwheeled across the floor, slid into splits and balanced effortlessly on her hands, Lisa Appel amazed the children of Bayard Taylor Elementary School. And she did it all while reading a book. "It's not just entertainment, it's educational entertainment," said Appel, 36, the founder of Smart Fitness, which combines her acrobatic training with her background as a former Philly schoolteacher to encourage youngsters to hit the books. That means her program involves lots of audience participation.
May 2, 2011 |
Kimmel Center security moved in Saturday night to remove a strangely clothed man wielding an empty wine bottle in the center's lobby. Until officers realized he was acting. He was, in fact, Gilles Rhode, one of the founders of La Compagnie Transe Express (see video at www.philly.com/troupe ), the troupe that pivoted, gyrated, and struck bells and drums high over the intersection of Broad and Spruce Streets as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
October 26, 2010 |
Pennsauken soccer goalie DaQuan DeSesso is among the most acrobatic goalies around, which comes from his background as a gymnastics performer and teacher. Maybe his most impressive feat was stumbling into the position, one that he hasn't played for long. DeSesso more than held his own against one of South Jersey's top keepers as Pennsauken beat visiting Bishop Eustace, 3-1 on Monday in an interdivisional Olympic Conference game. Eustace keeper Tyler Miller, a Northwestern recruit, was an Inquirer first-team all-South Jersey performer as a junior.
May 15, 2009 |
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote about the hummingbird: "Flying spark of water. Incandescent drop of American fire. Lighted summary of jungle, precise celestial rainbow . . . " His words perfectly capture the evanescent habit of these tiny creatures, among the most exquisite and beloved in the garden. Now, hummingbird lovers in the Philadelphia area are enjoying the springtime return of the native ruby-throats, the only hummingbird species out of 339 that breeds east of the Mississippi River.