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Posts Tagged ‘Almanac Dance Circus Theatre’

Why Wait? Fringe Festival Performances Begin Today!!!

Posted September 4th, 2018

The long wait is over!

Philadelphia’s 2018 Fringe Festival officially launches this Thursday, September 6, kicking off 17 days of world-class performing arts. But anyone who has looked at the Fringe Guide Day-By-Day knows that the excitement isn’t contained within the strict Festival dates. Some shows (FIGMAGO, Lay Me Down Softly) had performances this past weekend; many works in the Digital Fringe are already live and available for enjoyment, and tonight has a full schedule of preview performances for some of the Fringe’s hottest shows:

Do You Want A Cookie?

6:30pm
Kill Move Paradise, The Wilma Theater

7:30pm
Do You Want A Cookie?, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret
Tennessee Williams: Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium

9pm
Unhinged, Matter Movement Group

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From Beauty Queen to Circus Scenes

Posted August 29th, 2018

“The fitness competition in pageantry is no different than exotic dancing, or stripping. We are taking our clothes off and exposing ourselves for money. I can’t imagine why we treat the disciplines so differently.”

Thumbing through the Fringe Guide, you may have been struck by the striking advertisement on page 98 promoting Almanac Dance Circus Theatre’s Jeanne/Jean/John/Jawn. You’re not wrong in thinking the female performer casually supporting the weight of founding company member Adam Kerbel could be a beauty queen. She is.

Lauren Johns joined Almanac in 2016 and stars in its 2018 Fringe show. Before that, she competed in pageants, winning several regional awards and placing in the top ten of the Miss Pennsylvania competition. She talked to FringeArts about her varied performance history and the feminist critiques of pageantry.

FringeArts: What’s your background in performance art?

Lauren Johns: I’m the middle child. I grew up a dancer at a little gem of a dance studio, Out of His Mind, in Johnstown, PA. I tripped and conveniently fell into a scholarship at The University of the Arts BFA Dance program. As I began creating I found myself trying to convince dancers to let me throw them in the air or climb on their heads or have them try to balance with only their chests on the ground. When I presented my first work Katie Swords told me, “Lauren, this isn’t dance, you’re making physical theater.” This led me to take a job with a physical theater company, Aura CuriAtlas, then Almanac.

FringeArts: When did you join Almanac?

Lauren Johns: I was performing with  Aura Curiatlas when I met Ben [Grinberg] at a performance. He invited me to a workshop/audition for Fringe 2016’s Exile 2588. It has been true love ever since. Almanac doesn’t just accept my weird inclinations, but helps me develop the skills I need to create and collaborate.

FringeArts: You also have a background in a different type of performance?

Lauren Johns: There is a program in my hometown, Outstanding Young Women (OYW), that straddles a debutante ball and a pageant. This program strictly dignifies itself in being a scholarship organization. There are a series of application processes and interviews that review your educational merit to be accepted into the program. The areas of competition include presence and presentation, talent, interview, and fitness. The fitness competition in this case was a true test of fitness. We jumped around stage with an aerobic dance and then did a series of pushups and single leg squats in logo T-shirts and smiles plastered on our faces. You better believe I won that fitness competition. I then did a number of programs where I wore a dress and received accolades. I caught the eye of a local dress boutique owner, she encouraged me to compete in the Miss America system.

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Family Friendly Fringe

Posted August 24th, 2018

The Fringe isn’t always adults only! Everyone is welcome at these fun, engaging performances suitable for the whole family.

Chichi Chip (an ode to the Gnarly)
Philly Kerplop
An interactive performance featuring hip-hop dance and a live marching band, taking place in Philly’s iconic LOVE Park. Philly Kerplop’s display of humor and daring physical dexterity will activate the park spaces in ways that feel both familiar and awe-inspiring.
More info and tickets here

FIGMAGO
Meg Saligman Studio
FIGMAGO is part art installation, part room escape, and all parts wonderfully immersive. Enter the mind of a muralist as you explore secret passages and mesmerizing art to discover a mysterious mural that comes to life. YOU become the artist as the story unfolds. Hands-on and phone-free fun for all ages!
More info and tickets here

Garden of Vessels
Sina Marie (I Am a Vessel Youth Initiative)
Welcome to the future of the pop-up garden phenomenon. Imagine a garden where imagination and technology fall in love, cultivating the minds and innate abilities of the youth to a full bloom. Visionary Sina Marie creates an interactive experience. A diaspora from the underground up! We welcome you to…the Garden of Vessels.
More info and tickets here

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2018 Festival Spotlight: Circus Shows

Posted August 23rd, 2018

Contemporary circus is a growing genre in the performing art world, especially here in Philadelphia, and this year, Fringe artists are exploring its potential. Don’t miss these shows that push movement to new extremes!

Circadium Presents: Autopilot / Galactic Garden Party
Circadium
Double bill: Autopilot is a circus-based examination of how life’s instructions are given, taught, or learned, and how we navigate life with and without those instructions. Galactic Garden Party utilizes juggling, dance, scientific lectures, and theater to show the wonders of Earth, and what lies beyond the atmosphere in the cosmos.
More info and tickets here

Dead Flowers Circus Sideshow
Dead Flowers Circus Sideshow
Avant-garde performance ensemble Dead Flowers Circus Sideshow presents a veritable filth olympics. Mind and gender-bending spectacle, entertainment guaranteed. You may witness: A demonic clown host! Omnisexual burlesque! Heavy metal standup! Extreme acts of Sadomasochism! An authentic Arabian dance! Some Rock & Roll! Audience participation is not required, but volunteers have a lot of fun. No one bleeds but the performers.
More info and tickets here

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Nicole Burgio Shoots For The Moon in Almanac’s xoxo moongirl

Posted June 25th, 2018

The newest show from Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, xoxo moongirl, comes this Tuesday, June 26 to Christ Church Neighborhood House. Fringe favorite Almanac is the company behind Exile 2588 (2016) and Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes (2017), and will appear again in the 2018 Festival with Jeanne/Jean/John/Jawn, a circus extravaganza.

Nicole Burgio

Almanac’s current show xoxo moongirl is an autobiographical solo performance by company member Nicole Burgio, who tells the story of her childhood, which was plagued by domestic violence and abuse. Using many forms of performance art, Burgio confronts her past and, in it, finds hope and resilience.

I think often times when bad or violent things are portrayed in media and popular culture, they are either communicated about in a very clinical way so that the facts are all 100% accurate, or they can be very graphic,” director Ben Grinberg tells FringeArts, discussing the timeliness of the show amid the #MeToo era. “Using dance, circus, and theater, we can get at all of the feelings and sensations and acts of processing that are messy and not clear cut.”

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Fringe Festival 2016 Spotlight: Suitable for All Ages

Posted August 30th, 2016

Just because it’s at the Fringe doesn’t mean you have to leave the kids at home. Check out some of the Festival’s productions appropriate for all ages. Bring the whole family!

spherus

(photo by Colleen Joy)

 

Spherus @ Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
Greg Kennedy – Innovative Juggler

Updated for this year’s Fringe, Spherus: a trio-show featuring international juggling champion Greg Kennedy, complemented by aerial dancers, Rachel Lancaster & Christine Morano. In collaboration with video-projection artist Jeff Bethea, multimedia effects enhance venue installation, juggling sculptures & acrobatics. More info and tickets here.

clothing

Ready for Night by Linda Dubin Garfield

 

 

Clothing: Stories from the Closet @ The Book Trader
Linda Dubin Garfield / Susan DiPronio

Clothing: it’s what you chose to wear, how you adorn yourself; it shows who you are. It’s what drapes the windows of your soul; clothing defines or hides you. Share your story—write it, create it, tell about it. Art materials provided at on-going workshops. Proceeds benefit victims of human trafficking. More info and tickets here.

 

exile

Mark Wong, Nicole Burgio, Ben Grinberg, Lauren Johns, Nick Gillette (photo by Kate Raines)

Exile 2588 @ Painted Bride Art Center
Almanac Dance Circus Theatre

Exile 2588 is an acrobatic folk-music space epic adaptation of the story of Io set 572 years in to the future. Smashing together the genre of space epic with the sweet strains of American folk music, Almanac’s physical vocabulary swells to include break dance, static trapeze, and ever more innovative ensemble acrobatics, asking timeless questions about mortality and how much control we have over our bodies. Almanac’s signature style of physical storytelling, dance, and circus will be accompanied by an original song cycle by Chickabiddy (Aaron Cromie and Emily Schuman). The piece is outside eyed by Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Dan Rothenberg. [Disclaimer: This production does deal with serious themes of mortality and death.] More info and tickets here.

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Fringe at 20: Aaron Cromie

Posted June 8th, 2016

Name: Aaron Cromie

Type of Artist: Multidisciplinary theater artist

Lautrec in Window

The Body Lautrec. Photo by JJ Tiziou.

Fringe shows I’ve participated in:
First Festival Volunteer Coordinator, 1997
Son of Fantoccini, Mum Puppettheatre, 1998
I Was A Teenage Fantoccini, Mum Puppettheatre, 1999
Across, Big House Plays & Spectacles, 2000
The Story of Your Life, Threadbare Theatricals (self-produced), 2000
Hotel Obligado, Hotel Obligado, 2001
Contagion, Hotel Obligado, 2002
Contagion 2.0, Hotel Obligado, 2003
Two Hats, Two Heads, with Dave Jadico, 2003
The Foocy, workshop reading with Ugly Stepsister, 2004
Punchadelphia, Self-Produced Punch & Judy Show, 2005
Eye-95, Re-tarred, with Brat Productions, 2006
Afoot!, The Brothers Cromie, 2007
The European Lesson, Jo Strømgren Company, 2008
Afoot!, The Brothers Cromie, 2009
Afoot!, The Brothers Cromie, 2010
A Paper Garden, Mary Tuomanen/Aaron Cromie, 2011
Saint Joan, Betrayed, Mary Tuomanen/Aaron Cromie, 2013
The Body Lautrec, Mary Tuomanen/Aaron Cromie, 2014
The Swamp is On, Pig Iron Theatre Company, 2015
The Light Princess, workshop presentation with Ugly Stepsister, 2015
There might have been a couple more collaborations in there—I feel like we are all helping each other find/make/give feedback on each others’ developmental work each year—so I might have left out some things.

2016 Fringe show I’m participating in: Exile 2588 with Almanac Dance Circus Theatre. I am writing and performing the original score to Almanac’s new piece with my acoustic music duo Chickabiddy (with Emily Schuman).

Chickabiddy

Chickabiddy. Photo by Hannan Van Sciver.

First Fringe I attended: The very first one. Probably the highlight was seeing Dan Froot play sax naked. A good start to the first 20 years. Lines were out the door at Christ Church Meeting House. And I ran around a lot finding volunteers to cover shifts—we learned a lot that first year.

First Fringe I participated in: I was volunteer coordinator for the first festival, but the next year I got to perform with Mum Puppettheatre. The memorable moment was making people laugh by standing still in a stupid hat.

First show I produced/created at the Fringe: The first show I did myself was a teeny puppet show in the box office of the National Building—remember that place?—called The Story of Your Life in a shared space with a woman who knitted herself naked from a single length of yarn which made up the dress she was wearing/making.

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Almanac Presents Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes

Posted June 8th, 2015

“We want audiences to be engaged in every moment, but we also want them to feel like anything can happen at any moment.” 

JennaSpitz-1What happens when we trust too much? Come see Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes to find out.

Philadelphia’s Almanac Dance Circus Theatre brings Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes to the ecclesiastical confines of the Sanctuary Space at Fleisher Art Memorial, June 24–28. This is the company’s second full-length undertaking, after last year’s Communitas. Almanac is the resident company at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts and are artists-in-residence and Mascher Space Cooperative. Early stages of the show began with a residency in Montreal with Cirque du Soleil’s Jerome Le Baut and Cirque Eloize’s Robert Bourgeoisie.

Mixing acrobatics, theater, circus, dance, and music, Leaps and Faith and Other Mistakes tells the story of four hobbyists who form an isolationist seafarer cult. Through powerful levels of trust, exceptional acrobatics, and the help of their trusty sofa, the four individuals journey to a greater world. The show is created by performers Nicole Burgio, Nick Gillette, Ben Grinberg, and Adam Kerbel, along with writer Josh McIlvain of SmokeyScout Productions and music by Patrick Lamborn, who also performs live. We gathered a few of the Almanac gang—Ben Grinberg, Nick Gillette, Adam Kerbel—to talk to them about their upcoming show!

JennaSpitz-4FringeArts: What’s this show about?

Ben Grinberg: It’s about what happens when we trust ourselves, and those around us, too much. It uses partner acrobatics, which demands levels of physical trust that would be insane to normal people—even sometimes those in committed relationships—as a lens for this. What is the difference between that kind of conviction and the convictions of a religious zealot? A cult-leader?

Nick Gillette: It’s about four people taking the hard road towards something bigger than themselves. Each one of them has an individual reason to leave everything behind for a new world.

Ben Grinberg: Oh yeah, the play is about the four of us forming an isolationist seafarer cult, leaving the world behind, taking new names, and freeing ourselves.

FringeArts: With a little less than 4 weeks to go, what are you working on to get the show ready?

Nick Gillette: We’ve created a ton of material and now have the task of sorting it into a cohesive whole. Much of the next few weeks will be spent ordering scenes and acrobatic phrases and seeing how it feels as a whole piece. With so many facets and modes of performance, we want to really craft a satisfying ride through the different styles.

Ben Grinberg: For this piece, we want audiences to be engaged in every moment, but we also want them to feel like anything can happen at any moment. To do that requires a lot of sculpting.

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