Australian circus company Circa returns to Boston with a dance/circus hybrid
Igor Stravinsky’s epic 20th century composition “Le Sacre du Printemps” (“The Rite of Spring”) gets a poetic, raw and acrobatic overhaul in Sacre, a distinctive hybrid dance/movement performance by acclaimed Australian contemporary circus company Circa. Sacre is presented by Celebrity Series of Boston on February 9, 10 and 11 at 8 PM at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre.
Created by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa Ensemble, and directed by Lifschitz, the work takes inspiration from Stravinsky’s original ballet score depicting a series of pagan rituals that welcome spring’s earth-bound renewal. With its minimal aesthetic, Sacre centers on a group of ten performers moving in and out of a single white spotlight, focusing attention on the extraordinary athleticism of the troupe.
In partially improvisational solos, duets and full-company segments, the artists toss themselves and others into and out of the light, perform duets that mix balancing feats with sensual moves, and build jaw-dropping human architecture up to three people high. Individualism and interdependence are echoed in the feats of strength; group movements around the spotlight perimeter suggest secret rituals. Stage pictures and physical structures evoke botanical, floral, even DNA images.
As Sacre progresses performers shed suits and dresses for more body-baring costumes that underscore tensions built into the original music and this interpretation. The production begins with a contemporary soundscape by Philippe Bachman that suggests aspects of “The Rite of Spring” particularly its aggressive drum-driven beat, dissonance and off-kilter accents. Traditional orchestrations appear in the 65-minute performance’s second half, where suggestions of ritual and sacrifice intensify.
Sacre was created by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa Ensemble, commissioned by Merrigong Theatre Company, and co-produced by La Comete. Lighting design is by Veronique Benett. Costumes are by Libby McDonnell.
Circa’s Sacre plays at Boch Center Shubert Theatre: Thu, Feb 9; Fri, Feb 10; and Sat, Feb 11, 2023 @ 8 PM. Tickets start at $49, and available online at celebrityseries.org.
Through February 8, Sacre is available as part of a three-performance dance package (with upcoming performances by Paul Taylor Dance Company and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre) featuring 10% off tickets and no handling fees. Details at celebrityseries.org/dance.