Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity
September 28, 2017 W. Celeste Davis Stragand
Love and Gravity. Cooper Stanton. Photo by Julia Nardin. Image courtesy of Acrobatic Conundrum.
Love and Gravity. Cooper Stanton. Photo by Julia Nardin. Image courtesy of Acrobatic Conundrum.

Love and Gravity. Cooper Stanton. Photo by Julia Nardin. Image courtesy of Acrobatic Conundrum.

Lion, tigers and bears, oh my! Nope. Not one lion or tiger or bear. What kind of circus had we entered on this cold and rainy Sunday night at the Oriental Theater?  What mystical enchantment were we to encounter by watching visiting Seattle-based  Acrobatic Conundrum? Love and Gravity is an edge-of-your-seat adventure filled with oohs, ahhs and bursts of applause.

Bringing contemporary circus coupled with modern dance movements to life, the six-person company welcomes you to enter their world of love with an initial lone male silk sequence.

As if brought together by magnets, the full troupe enters the stage and begins to frolic and flip off and on to one another like rubber bands popped and stretched back and forth knowing no boundary from one body to another.  The trust, physicality and glee of each performer enlivens the stage.  

Love and Gravity. Xochitl Sosa. Photo by Marc Hoffman. Image courtesy of Acrobatic Conundrum.

Love and Gravity. Xochitl Sosa. Photo by Marc Hoffman. Image courtesy of Acrobatic Conundrum.

Our tallest performer, Ty Vennewitz, stole the audience’s hearts with this interaction and juvenile whimsicality.  He juggled haphazardly and encouraged audience participation. He admits, he fell in love with an aerial rope….artist.  This love of the art͢͢͢͢— the love of movement—the love of defying all gravity permeates the evening.  

With musical backgrounds ranging from Sinatra’s It Had to Be You to Bowie’s Under Pressure, the dancers flip, twirl and twist on the corde lisse making each move seem weightless and effortless though their pulsating muscles display the truth.  Measured in synchronicity, the troupe performs using as much of the floor as the air to pop, convulse and contract with the lyrics, they say we are made of chaos, which resonated in our ears.  

Love is not a clean and easy verb. It doesn’t hold your hand and dance you down an aisle. The turmoil, the interwebs, the combatant, overwhelming and all consuming nature envelop and smother, elate and elevate.  

Entwisted on the trapeze, like the cliche web of love and the palpable love of the art, the performers danced through emotion leaving one acrobat dangling by only her Achilles.

As if to show the foil, the mood turns light and the cyr wheel spins and rotates up and down bringing about the joy and bliss we oft look for in a lover.  

With minimal props, precision rigging and unparalleled skill, Acrobatic Conundrum took our love for circus to new heights. And, you still have a chance to see them. This Thursday and Friday, they will be performing at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder. Don’t get stuck at home watching the same ‘ol same ‘ol – rise to the occasion and head to the big top.


W. Celeste Davis Stragand: Published author, showcased artist and Denver transplant, W. Celeste Davis Stragand is not new to the art world. Her passion for delving into the root of existence and movement will challenge and praise both choreographers and the audience.  A graduate of Texas A&M University, Celeste holds two bachelor of arts degrees, one in Chemistry and the other in English. She is also a graduate of Naropa University holding a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. A former national slam team poet, Celeste is a graduate of the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership Program, sits on the Programs Committee for Women’s Transportation Seminar and works for Denver Regional Council of Governments managing their Way to Go Program (www.waytogo.org)providing mobility options for those in the Denver region.  Her passion and enthusiasm for the kinetic arts will frolic and frenzy through the upcoming season of performances with many hopes for an encore!

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