Jacob’s Pillow Opens 80th Anniversary Festival with Brazilian Company Mimulus and Australia’s Circa

Mimulus in 'Por Um Fio (By a Thread)' (photo Guto Muniz)

(BECKET, Mass.) – Jacob’s Pillow will open its 80th anniversary festival on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, with the U.S. premiere of Por Um Fio (By A Thread), performed by Mimulus Dance Company of Brazil in the Ted Shawn Theatre. That same evening, Australian circus-arts company Circa opens the Doris Duke Theatre season with its eponymous full-evening program of daredevil acrobatics, aerial work, physical theatre, and evocative contemporary movement, performed to works by Leonard Cohen, Cake, Jacques Brel, Venetian Snares, and others. Both companies will perform through Sunday, June 24.

Based in Belo Horizonte, Mimulus made its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 2007 and is celebrated internationally for its unique combination of social dance and contemporary choreography. In Por Um Fio, the company honors the life and work of Brazilian outsider artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário with an evening-length production full of dynamic sets, interactive costuming, inventive dance, and an eclectic score.

The U.S. premiere of Por Um Fio (By A Thread), choreographed by Mesquita and members of the company, is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of Arthur Bispo do Rosário´s birth and the 20th anniversary of his death. On a spiritual mission, the reclusive do Rosário created unintentional art for fifty years within the walls of Colônia Juliano Moreira, a psychiatric facility in Rio de Janeiro. Following his death in 1989, do Rosário’s creations, including writings and intricate embroideries made from found materials such as scraps of clothing and hospital bed sheets, gained international recognition in the contemporary art world. Often compared to the work of Marcel Duchamp, do Rosário’s art has been exhibited posthumously in major exhibitions, including at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Brazil, La Biennale di Venezia in Italy, and the Jeu de Paume in France.

In Por Um Fio, the dancers of Mimulus translate a fascination with the writings and creations of do Rosário into a choreographic weaving of limbs and bodies with spins, lifts, and inventive partnering. Intricate and unique costumes are embroidered with text and patterns, inspired by the way do Rosário himself adorned garments and fabrics. An interactive set of fabric, thread, tangled wires, and incandescent lighting further conducts the energy of the performance, evoking light and shade, madness and memory, and the joys and entanglements of life. The score of Por Um Fio includes music by Camille Dalmais, Caetano Veloso, Calexico, and Chopin, as well as excerpts from the movie O Prisioneiro da Passagem, directed by Hugo Denizart.

The Mimulus choreographic style encompasses all forms of social dance including samba, tango, salsa, and beyond. Mesquita has traveled around the world to study ballroom and social dance styles in their various countries of origin. He then brings these styles back to Brazil, and integrates them into a unique and engaging contemporary dance language.

On Sunday, June 24, from 10 to 11:30am, dancers from Mimulus will lead a Master Class for intermediate/advanced dancers ages 16 and older. Pre-registration is required; for more information on the Master Class, call 413.243.9919.

Circa (photo Justin Nicholas)

In CIRCA, seven performers of Circa present daredevil acrobatics, aerial work, physical theatre, and evocative contemporary movement. Artistic director Yaron Lifschitz has directed numerous cross-genre productions including opera, theatre, physical theatre, and circus; the company has toured across Australia, Europe, and South America.

Circa’s performance style is a signature combination of highly connected acrobatic sequences; intricate, fast-paced tumbling scenes; and hauntingly beautiful contemporary movement. CIRCA, a work for seven performers, draws on material from some of Circa’s most acclaimed works including The Space Between, by the light of stars that are no longer…, and FURIOSO, which were all created by Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz in collaboration with the company. The varied score includes music by Leonard Cohen, Cake, Jacques Brel, Venetian Snares, and others.

From Brisbane, Australia, Circa has toured to 22 countries across five continents to critical acclaim. The company members come from diverse backgrounds, with specialties ranging from aerial work to contortion to hoop diving. Roslyn Sulcas of the New York Times has praised Circa for its “astonishing physical mastery” and “a poetic resonance that brings these performances closer to dance than to the big top.”

Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, University of Queensland and National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) where he was the youngest director ever accepted into its prestigious graduate directors course. Since graduating, Lifschitz has directed over 60 productions including large-scale events, opera, theatre, physical theatre and circus. He was founding Artistic Director of the Australian Museum’s Theatre Unit, Head Tutor in Directing at Australian Theatre for Young People and has been a regular guest tutor in directing at NIDA since 1995.

On Saturday, June 23, at 4pm, Circa’s Associate Director Darcy Grant will discuss how the company translates circus for the concert stage in a free PillowTalk titled Where Dance and Circus Meet.




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