One man leaps, another man poises, the man lands – on the other man’s hands, above his head, upside down. The audience gasps and applauds.
‘Circolombia is in the house!’, indeed. The Colombian circus company has returned to the Roundhouse with the UK premiere of their brand new, high-flying production, Acelere; a sizzling dose of circus-meets-dance theatre-meets-live concert in their punchy one-hour performance.
Made up of graduates from National School of Circo Para Todos, dedicated to supporting at risk young people by providing circus training, Circolombia is filled with an authentic charm and cheek. A few stumbles and misfires are met with a knowing glance and a nod followed by a rousing round of applause from both the audience and the fellow performers, adding to the playful feel to the performance. Not every move lands perfectly, but then again, who is concerning themselves with a little foot fumble when there is a man spinning a woman around with his teeth?
Sensual and with hearts-firmly-in-mouth, the subtly lit muscular forms that are Oscar Rojas and Soledad Gómez entangle themselves in a rope, and one another, in one of the stand out acts of the night, leaving us all suitably breathless. These more choreographed moments, alongside the other aerial performances, show Circolombia at its most finessed and intense. Pitch this against the playfully boisterous playground antics of the ‘lads’, with their see-saw flips and tricks and absolute defiance of any rules of gravity, and you see Circolombia as its whole – a company that is as generous of spirit as it is of talent.
Soundtracked with a live original score, Circolombia has an infectious energy and enthusiasm, infused with the beats and rhythms of Bogota. And while the mid-week audience was not quite salsa-ing in the aisles (more the shame), it would be nigh on impossible for most to defy their hips the urge to move along with the music, eager to continue the party.
Now, to find someone to teach me how to do some of that rope work…
Circolombia: Acelere is showing until Sunday 3 May at:
Chalk Farm Road
Photo: David Levene