Gravity & Other Myths, a contemporary circus company based in Adelaide, South Australia won three awards at the first International Circus Awards on Saturday, Oct. 9.
Aaron Marquise, executive director of the Contemporary Circus and Immersive Arts Center and host of the ICA ceremony Said :
The sheer size and scale of this piece was inspiring and challenged viewers to truly ask what circus is and can be
We are thrilled that Gravity & Other Myths was a part of this year’s awards and are very happy for their achievements.
The Contemporary Circus and Immersive Arts Center, a nonprofit organization based in Troy, New York USA, created the ICA to recognize professional circus companies, artists and producers from around the globe for their outstanding achievements.
Gravity & Other Myths won “Outstanding Production,” “Outstanding Achievement in Circography,” and “Outstanding Achievement in Design” for their work “The Pulse.”
The three performance teams of Gravity & Other Myths, who typically tour simultaneously in separate countries, came together in a single production for the first time in “The Pulse.” The 30 acrobats were joined on stage with 30 singers from Aurora (Young Adelaide Voices) for this daring show based on themes of community, physical touch, and how humans respond to continual change.
Gravity & Other Myths was founded in 2009. Their first work, “A Simple Space,” was performed more than 850 times in 34 countries.
The ICA ceremony was styled after the Academy Awards, beginning with a choreographed opening number exploring the question: What is Circus? Presenters included Daniel Lamarre, the CEO of Cirque du Soleil, and Gypsy Snider, circus choreographer for the Tony award-winning revival of “Pippin.” The broadcast was pre-recorded this month, with Marquise hosting from the historic Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, world famous for its acoustics, and presenters joining remotely. South African Circus Company Zip Zap Among Other Winners
“Moya,” an acrobatic film production by Zip Zap Circus & Sabine Van Rensburg, Brin Schoellkopf, and Samuel Renaud, won Outstanding Digital Production and CircusTalk Critics Choice Award. Phelelani Ndakrokra also won Outstanding Performance by an Artist for his performance in “Moya.”
“Moya” celebrates South Africa’s cultural diversity, inspired by Nelson Mandela’s dream of a “Rainbow Nation.” The protagonist travels through various landscapes, and begins his journey of self discovery through the magic of circus. “Moya” is a strong representation of what Zip Zap Circus ultimately stands for — it is a reflection of the past, present and future of this multicultural cast & nation.
Zip Zap Circus, based in Cape Town, is a professional and social circus using circus arts to inspire and empower young people from all walks of life to pursue their destinies. Zip Zap was founded in 1992 by Brent van Rensburg and Laurence Estève. Their daughter, Sabine van Rensburg, along with Brin Schoellkopf and Samuel Renaud, directed “Moya.”
Cirque Barcode won Outstanding Emerging Company with their production “Sweat and Ink.” “Se prendre,” by LION LION won Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy. “AURA,” by Cirko Alebrije of Mexico, won the “Audience Choice Award.” Not Just Your “Big Top” Circus
While many hear the word “circus” and think of animals, peanuts and “Big Top” large arenas, there is great variety in modern circus productions. “Contemporary Circus” companies, for example, don’t use animals, but focus instead on the incredible capabilities of the human body to tell stories, typically in smaller and more intimate settings.
The CCIAC chose not to define “circus” for submissions to the ICA.
Enriching the International Circus Community
The productions among our nominees may include certain elements—like acrobatics, juggling, clowning, dance and movement—that may or may not be present in traditional circus as many people know it,” Marquise said. “But if an artist or company calls their production ‘circus,’ who are we to say it’s not?
The CCIAC received 60 submissions from 21 countries. In adjudicated categories, 34 judges from 16 countries will judge nominees based on three criteria: impact, originality and excellence.
Marquise Said :
We established three ways to measure the work that felt fair to all communities regardless of financial and physical resources
Marquise says it is important that this awards program is international in scope because many countries and regions around the world have their own distinctive circus culture.
We want the ICA to start conversations about the elements of these shows— the costumes, scenic designs, dramaturgy, etc.—to help circus evolve and move in new directions.
Photo Credit: Darcy Grant