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July 05, 2012 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-07-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

arts & entertainment

Circa will perform as part of the

"A family
tradition
since 1964"

Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

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Director from Down Under brings
circus arts to Ann Arbor.

Suzanne Chessler

Contributing Writer

y

aron Lifschitz did not think of
running off with the circus as
a child, but it's what he's come
to do as an adult.
Lifschitz, 42, serves
as artistic director
and CEO of Circa, an
Australian ensemble
that will be appearing
July 6-7 at the Power
Center as part of the
Ann Arbor Summer
Festival.
Yaron
"We'll be perform-
Lifschitz
ing a show that has
been touring the world for a number of
years:' says Lifschitz in a phone inter-
view from the road.
"It has seven multi-skilled acrobats
doing tumbling, balancing and throw-
ing while working with complex group
acrobatics that are physically astound-
ing and emotionally moving.
"We use recorded music as the
background for performances that are
abstract and stripped back. There's hon-
esty mixed with authenticity that tugs
the heart."
Among the Australian-based artists
are Lewis West, who specializes in gym-
nastics, trampolining and breakdance;
Darcy Grant, who has become known
for floor-based acrobatics; and Emma
McGovern, who combines dance, physi-
cal theater, circus and martial arts.
"The company started as Rock 'n' Roll
Circus in 1987 and was a community
project;' Lifschitz recalls. "It grew into a
professional company, and we changed
the name to Circa in 2004. We began
touring internationally in 2006, and last
year, we performed 400 shows across
many countries."
Lifschitz, who attended a Jewish day
school in Australia and volunteered for
Shoah commemoration projects, started
out with theater ambitions.
A graduate of the University of New
South Wales, University of Queensland
and National Institute of Circus Artists

(NICA), he went on to direct more than
60 productions, including large-scale
events, opera, theater and circus.
Lifschitz was founding artistic
director of the Australian Museum's
Theatre Unit, head tutor in directing of
Australian Theatre for Young People and
guest tutor in directing at NICA.
With Circa, he has created a work,
also named Circa, coming to Ann
Arbor, plus Wunderkammer, The
Space Between and 61 Circus Acts in 60
Minutes. He is planning for a new pro-
duction to be seen at a large festival in
his home country and another based on
a work by Shostakovich as played live to
the acrobatics.
"When I was studying theater art, I
realized how many people were interest-
ed in [circus arts]," he recalls. "I directed
plays but looked for something that
was a better use of my energy. I joined
the company in 1999 and have come to
admire, respect and enjoy the circus."
Lifschitz, who has a full-time staff of
35, arranges for workshops as requested
by specific host venues. In Australia, the
nonprofit company has a trade school
for aspiring performers.
"The shows don't change radically for
each country, but they do get reshaped;'
Lifschitz says. "Depending on the audi-
ence, responses, expectations and
knowledge of cultural frames of refer-
ence, [segments] get moved around.
"In America, the changes mostly are
about songs that have English lyrics.
The relationships between the words
and the actions need to be clear."
The artistic director, who is working
on taking Circa to Israel, has an aspiring
circus performer at home.
"My 10-year-old son Oscar would like
to do everything that he sees on stage
Lifschitz says. "He loves it, and the two
of us have been featured on Australian
television." 'II

Circa will perform at 8 p.m. Friday-
Saturday, July 6-7, at the Power
Center, 121 Fletcher, Ann Arbor.
$10-$45. (734) 764-2538;
www.annarborsummerfestival.org .

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July 5 • 2 012 35

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