Circa Humans: This is What Defying Gravity Looks Like

Young, fit, scantily clad Aussies performing feats of acrobatic prowess? Yes please. Circa Humans features an award-winning ensemble of ten multi-skilled circus artists (six men and four women) who have performed in New York, London, Berlin and Montreal.

Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, Circa Humans is one of many offshoots produced under the auspices of Circa Contemporary Circus. Other Circa offerings include such thematically based performances (with provocative titles) as “Carnival of the Animals,” “Danger Club” and a personal favorite, “Peepshow,” which pushes the envelope with sexually suggestive content. “Peepshow” has yet to travel to the United States, but if the video teaser on their website is any indication, this would be a surefire hit.

Limber Up and Fly Right

Circa Humans recently showcased their work at the Wallis Center for the Arts in Beverly Hills, dazzling the audience with skill and nerve. During the 90-minute program, the audience watched in rapt silence as the performers leapt through the air, careered off each other and twisted themselves into positions which seem to defy gravity.

Under the taut direction of Yaron Lifschitz, each vignette flows seamlessly into the next with movements changing to match the tone of the musical backdrop. That often ranges from abstract to sublime; from James Brown to Barry Manilow. The phrase that comes to mind is body surfing — in the most literal sense. Lifschitz has cleverly designed a program that utilizes his performers to dazzling effect, varying the pairings to keep the audience not only engaged but riveted.

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Love is Love

One of the more memorable numbers is set to James Brown’s ode to love and betrayal “Please Please Please.” It’s a bluesy, soulful number which captures the opposing forces of attraction and repulsion that often coexist within a relationship. Later in the program, the number is performed by a male couple as if to underscore the universal struggles within all human relationships regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

(Photo courtesy Circa Humans)

Another captivating number features a female member of the troupe performing a kind of aerial ballet while suspended by a rope from the rafters. Set to the strains of a violin concerto, its effect was nothing short of spellbinding and evoked images reminiscent of a spider spinning a web. Another vignette featured one of this troupe’s signature moves, best described as head-walking where one performer literally walks across the tops of the other performers’ heads. It may sound a bit odd, but like the other set pieces, there’s something strikingly primal about the human bonds that unite us.

Want to Join the Circus?

Have you ever dreamt of joining the circus? Or dreamt of going “down under”? If the answer is yes, here’s your chance to do both in one fell swoop. Circa is hiring. If you’ve had it with your day job and have an astonishing level of dexterity and physical strength, this might just be your ticket to ride. Whether you’re a couch potato who’s content to be a voyeur or a loose limbed, aspiring acrobat, you can check out their website at

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Published by
Steve Gottfried
Tags: theater

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