The smell of elephant poop in a big arena when you were a kid?
That one time in Vegas when you saw Cirque du Solei ?
That scene from Outlander we all wish never existed with Claire singing on a stage?
Before last weekend, those are the last few memories I had of a “circus.” I remember people swinging from a trapeze when I was a kid. I thought “O” from Cirque du Soleil was pretty great, but I was probably more annoyed that we had paid $250/ticket for a 10:30 pm showing that I could barely stay away for. (When I “Vegas,” I Vegas hard…. like in bed by 11 hard.) A circus is the last thing I thought I would be attending in 2018.
So when my boyfriend suggested we check out a circus for date night this past week I was like, Okay, that’s an interesting ide. (…), but when he sweetened the pot with sushi first, I was in.
What happened next was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen.
At a circus!
This past weekend a festival of contemporary circus art was held in Philadelphia, and the first night featured Sweat and Ink from the Barcode Circus Company.
Sweat & Ink is a surrealistic and dream-like exploration of contemporary society’s relationship to memory and time.
Sounds like a name of an exhibit at a gallery someone dragged you to right? Exactly.
The show started out semi-interesting— there were a couple jumps and flips from a guy and a tiny girl. The troupe of 4 ran around a stage climbing on pieces of oversized furniture. You could start to see a story unfold. Memories were stored in cigar boxes which a guy ended up juggling (really), and more jumps and flips happened, and then… the music started getting really good.
It was really emotive and really intense. And the jumps and flips became even more impressive. The tiny girl went flying higher in the air. There were more complicated flips and turns.
(The Best Video I could find of the two which barely does it justice)
The cigar box juggling was actually REALLY good.
And suddenly a hoop was lowered from the sky and this small girl with gorgeous long curly red hair did the most incredible aerial hoop art I have ever seen.
She was 20+ feet in the air above the stage holding on by basically one foot- a few toes even- climbing around a hoop and around the rope in the most mesmerizing act I have ever seen. Her body was gorgeous. Yes, she was incredibly fit and had abs I would have to literally have to stop eating for 3 years to get, but she was just the embodiment of beauty. The twist and turns her body made were incredible. It was reminiscent of watching a ballet dancer whose body is the art.
And the next floor act from the tiny girl and her partner was insanely beautiful. The eroticism of their bodies combined with the skill and strength they both exuded was enchanting. Their hand to hand work made me complain so much less when I was lifting 10 lb dumbbells in the gym the next morning.
And just when I thought I had seen it all, The small hoop girl was back with a Russian Bar act. What’s that, you ask? A bendable bar that is hoisted on 2 guy’s shoulders. The performer was already 5 or 6 feet in the air— and then she just casually started jumping. Doing some cartwheels. A backflip or two. Front flips. All the while landing back on this bending bar hoisted on the two guys shoulders.
And then they started waving the bar up and down, giving her some leverage to go even higher. And higher she went- back up as high as the hoop was- 20+ feet in the air. Flipping, turning and coming all the way down, landing perfectly back on the balance beam, on the guy’s shoulders.
Here is Alex performing an act on the “France’s Got Talent” Show
This is amazing, and it is no where near as good as what I saw.
I know, I know. You’re reading about a circus I saw. Something you need to really experience to believe was as incredible as it was.
But from the Hoop act to the floor acts to the Russian Bar, and then to their final act with all 4 performers running around, throwing each other up in the air- 3 people stacked high— flipping and throwing— I’m STILL in awe of what I experienced and it’s been 4 days.
If you ever have the chance to see these incredible four performers, do it. Find out where they are performing next at barcodecircuscompany.com and RUN to book your tickets.
PS: Seems like their website doesn’t have a calendar of events which is a big ol’ shame they should remedy ASAP!