Don’t send in the clowns - this is circus as art, not slapstick

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Don’t send in the clowns - this is circus as art, not slapstick


Acrobats fly through the air in the circus performance “Nebbia.” Provided by Cirque Eloize

What makes a sleepy town stir?

Regardless of time and place, a circus can still shake things up, both for the young and the old.

But this time, the performance will be like no other. Unlike old-style circuses, there will be no clowns with frowns and red noses or huge elephants balancing oversized balloons on the tips of their trunks.

There will be no tigers jumping through hoops of fire or poodles jumping ropes.

This show is more akin to a kind of performance art.

The Canadian troupe Cirque Eloize blends acrobatics with delicately choreographed scenes in a show called “Nebbia.”

Nebbia is Italian for “fog.” The performance debuted in Switzerland last December.

The 1,300-strong Swiss audience responded with a seven-minute standing ovation.

Korea is the first destination in Asia for the Nebbia show.

Cirque Eloize is considered one of the major Canadian circus teams.

Founded in 1994, it has toured five different shows in 300 cities in 30 countries.

Nebbia starts with the main character Gonzales drifting back in time as mist envelopes the stage.

The young Gonzales, visiting his grandmother’s house, starts imagining things that wouldn’t happen in reality.

All the acrobatic performances take place in his dreams, functioning like subplots filled with magic.

In one scene, 100 dishes spinning on the top of bamboo sticks suddenly transform into a field of reeds.

In another scene, instead of flying the trapeze, acrobats cling to bolts of crimson cloth.

Daniele Finzi Pasca directs the show. His resume includes directing the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Music critic Won Jong-won said Nebbia is more than a simple circus performance.

“[The show] has established a new territory as a modern performance. Every scene is like looking at a scene in a painting,” Won said.

“Nebbia” will take place from July 9 through 20 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

Performance start at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 2 and 7 p.m. on weekends.

Tickets cost from 30,000 won ($ 29.15) to 100,000 won.

For more information visit or call (02) 1577-5266.

By Lee Ho-jeong Staff Reporter []
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