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by Mala Raman
Graduates of Fontys Academy of Circus and Performance Art presented their group show “Wake the Dog” in which they connected their circus skills with dance and theatre. The performance was directed and produced by the students and coached by Stefan Hort (Switzerland).
Entering the theater, a group of 9 performers were already “on” and interacting with the audience members as individuals found their seats. One participant was sitting on the side of the hall singing a French song and playing the guitar. The students gave off a vaudeville vibe before the show and that continued throughout the performance beginning with a group dance.
According to my fellow TIC members (because I had no clue), it seems the acting/theater portion of the show symbolized how people have been trained to behave according to societal norms, responding to events in their daily lives in a Pavlovian manner. The point of the performance (I think) was that we must break free of our boxes and open our eyes to what is happening in the greater scheme of life, in other’s words, we must wake the dog.
Long theatrical dialogues and diatribes (complete with dog hoods) were punctuated by short bursts of circus skills. There was an annoying dog barking sound track with ‘house’ style background music that was played intermittently signalling the group to begin “dancing” again. I could have done without seeing that exact dance 20 times during the performance.
On the bright side, what there was to see of the circus acts looked impressive and difficult. The acts included the static and dance trapeze, tightwire, Chinese pole, rope and partner acrobatics. It’s clear that these students have worked hard at their chosen craft and it was nice to see the end result of their years of study. I just wish I had been able to witness more of their actual talents.
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