BEYOND THE STAGE with Circus Now

3625fbca29eed9d127bf743d6d046cdb77db052e 2

Think you know circus? Think again.

This January, for three spectacular nights, New York audiences are invited to re-imagine their perceptions of a timeless art, as the world’s most innovative and inspired companies take the stage for Circus Now: International Contemporary Circus Exposure 2016.

Join us in this celebration of contemporary circus—don’t miss the opportunity to experience this one-of-a-kind event.


Acrobatic Conundrum (US) — The Language of Chance
Oktobre (France) — Oktobre

Andréane Leclerc/Nadère arts vivants (Canada) — Whore of Babylon
Barely Methodical Troupe (England) — Bromance
Water on Mars (Sweden)

Aloft Circus Arts (US) — Dinner of our Discontent
Barely Methodical Troupe (England) — Bromance
Water on Mars (Sweden)

EMCEE: Sxip Shirey


Article: High Flying and High Minded: Circus Academics Convene at NYU (Observer)  “Before the show, a panel of academics in the circus arts and high-ups from Cirque du Soleil discussed the state of contemporary circus.” —Justin Joffe, January 20, 2015

Review: Company Water on Mars, Andréane Leclerc /Nadère Arts Vivants, and Barely Methodical Troupe at Circus Now (StageBuddy)
“Much of the circus arts exist outside of a big top. This is evidenced by the three groups that performed in Friday’s International Contemporary Circus Expo at NYU’s Skirball Center. The expo was sponsored by Circus Now, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the circus arts in the U.S. All three groups brought something very different to the stage, demonstrating just how diverse the circus can be.” —Tami Shaloum, January 17,2016

Review: Circus Now International Contemporary Circus Exposure (Times Square Chronicles)
“Circus Now really lives in the present. It is a conceptually stunning departure from the traditional circus that one would imagine with clowns on tricycles passing out cotton candy and girls in pink frilly tutus with parasols, walking the tight rope. This modern retake is quite exciting and expressive in its own right.” —Nora Davis, January 17, 2016

Article: Festival Seeks to Define the Next Wave for Circus Arts (The Wall Street Journal)
“Forget elephants—the Circus Now festival showcases how new companies incorporate more theater and dance.” —Sophia Hollander, January 14, 2016

Review: Circus at APAP: Acrobatic Conundrum (Seattle), Company Oktobre (Paris) (InfiniteBody)
“Dance, theater, performance folks, scoot over a bit, won’t you? Circus has arrived, taking its place among the city’s vast APAP-related offerings. The mission? To make visionary, contemporary circus as thriving an artform in the US as it is abroad.” —Eva Yaa Asantewaa, January 14, 2015

Review: Circus Now (Theater Pizzazz)

Article: Seven International Circus Companies Coming to NYU Skirball in January (BroadwayWorld) – December 2, 2015

Interview:  BWW TV Exclusive: Tony Winner Susan Hilferty Compares Costume Design in Theatre & Circus! (BroadwayWorld)
“NYU Skirball has partnered with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to present a circus-themed costume exhibit in 13 large display windows adjacent to the Skirball Center. The exhibit will also feature circus memorabilia, photographs and historical information, and will be on display from December 23 – January 18, 2016.” —BroadwayWorld TV December 23, 2015

Article: NYU Heralds Circus Now 2016 with Window Exhibit of Ringling Costumes (Amusing the Zillion blog) —Tricia, January 11, 2016

Panel Discussion: Contemporary Circus Now!, January 15 5:30-7:00pm
FREE to the public with RSVP
Location: Kimmel Center Room 909
60 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012

NYU Skirball Center presents a panel discussion given by scholars and experts in the field of contemporary circus. Join us as they share their unique perspective on the importance and challenges of presenting contemporary circus today, the training and mental preparation that goes into this type of artistry, and current trends in the field of circus research.

About the Circus Now Companies:
Founded in 2012, Acrobatic Conundrum, based in Seattle, is dedicated to creating performance experiences that engage and amaze audiences. Conundrum shows feature moments of absurd and intimate humanity, and are dedicated to a vision of human courage, connection, and collaboration. The company has performed in various venues around the Pacific Northwest, headlined the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, was a featured performer at the Vancouver CircusFest, and hosted the THREE HIGH Circus Series in Seattle

Website: Acrobatic Conundrum

Full Video: Acrobatic Conundrum | Talks at Google  
Video Clip: The Acrobatic Conundrum presents The Way Out
Video Clip: Rope Battle Royale ACV3 5/10

Interview: Terry Crane, Founder of Acrobatic Conundrum, on the Life of a Circus Artist (StageBuddy)
“Acrobatic Conundrum, Seattle’s premier contemporary circus arts company, will be performing The Language of Chance at the NYU Skirball Center on January 14th as part of Circus Now 2016. Acrobatic Conundrum is led by Artistic Director and Co-founder, Terry Crane, an expert at vertical rope and practitioner of capoeira, contact improvisation, hip-hop dance, physical theater, and tree climbing.” —Kathryn Turney, January 11, 2016

Review: Acrobatic Conundrum’s “The Language of Chance” Opens Two Weeks of Amazing, Intimate Circus at 12th Avenue Arts (The Huffington Post)
“Everyone in this troupe is a star, and yet each character also steps back to support the others in some feats of daring that left me continually wondering, “how can a person do such a thing with their body?” —L. Steven Sieden, May, 5, 2015


A winner at the prestigious Jeunes Talents Cirque/Circus Next Awards in 2013, Oktobre features three of France’s top young circus-theatre talents, combining their trapeze, acrobatic and magic talents in a surreal circus-theater drama. It can be seen as a circus show with outrageous characters in a world of dark fantasy, where the notions of time and logic are absent or as a sharp look at human behavior.

Website: Octobre

Trailer: Oktobre

Article: OKTOBRE / CIE OKTOBRE (Circus Work Ahead!)

Nadère Arts Vivants, founded by Montreal-born contortionist and storyteller Andréane Leclerc in 2013, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create, produce and broadcast experimental hybrid works, combining circus language with a dramaturgic line. Whore of Babylon is Leclerc’s reinterpretation of the biblical story of creation and the Book of Revelation, featuring five circus-trained performers and original music by Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lilie

Website: Nadère arts vivants

Trailer: Cherepaka

Blog: Andréane Leclerc 
Article: Andréane Leclerc and “The Whore of Babylon”Marion Gerbier, September 1, 2015

Barely Methodical Troupe, founded in London in 2013, features three graduates from the U.K.’s National Centre for Circus Arts, all winners of the inaugural Circus Maximux competition. The acrobats fuse Hand-to-Hand and Cyr Wheel with a through line of creative dynamic movement. Bromance celebrates all things “blokey” through a series of heroic, risk-taking physical feats. With an inventive mix of flawlessly-timed acrobatics, shoulder-high balances and a jaw-dropping routine inside a spinning metal wheel, the trio explores male companionship and its limits

Website: Barely Methodical

Trailer: Bromance
Trailer: BMT
Video Clip: Contemporary circus: Bromance by Barely Methodical Troupe
Video Clip: Circus Now‘s London Blokes, The Barely Methodical Troupe, Are Ready to Blow Your Mind

Article: Bromance (Crying Out Loud)
“Meet Britain’s hottest young acrobats, Barely Methodical Troupe. This exceptionally skilled all-male trio won a Total Theatre Award at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival for their outstanding debut Bromance, and it’s easy to see why.”—Crying Out Loud

Water on Mars features three young jugglers who studied at Stockholm’s Dance and Circus University. Their tricks are as physical as break dance and as stylized as Japanese pop art. The trio brings a performance full of dynamic airborne images: 100 rings are thrown, backflips are landed, feet are twisted, water is flipped, 21 balls are juggled and 15 clubs spin around the 3 bodies while an electro beat keep the rhythm

Website: Water on Mars

Trailer: Water on Mars

Article: Subcase- Subtopia Circus Fair (Sideshow Circus Magazine)

Aloft Circus Arts, based in Chicago, is a collection of earth-bound aerial and circus artists, expressing themselves without regard to gravity. Aloft reveals more than just the splendor and danger inherent in the circus arts; they construct accessible, purposeful stories, drawn from the juxtaposition of artistic, emotional and physical extremes. The results are acts and full-length productions that are powerful, dangerous, hilarious and passionate; where spectacle lies not in special effects or elaborate sets, but in the intensity, beauty and captivating nature of the human body entwined in circa.

Website: Aloft Circus Arts

Trailer: Aloft Circus Arts





BEYOND THE STAGE with Dog Days Opera


Dog Days is a work of contemporary music-theatre from celebrated composer David T. Little that incorporates elements of opera, musical theatre, and rock-infused concert music to investigate the psychology of a working-class American family pitted against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. Based on a powerful short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days is set in the aftermath of an unimaginable catastrophe as a family struggles to survive. The teenage daughter clings to hope, unwilling to accept their dire situation, until a disturbing stranger shows up at the doorstep.

Show Website

Dog Days Trailer


Review: Opera Review: Dog Days Is ‘Intolerable and Superb’ (Vulture)
“With a blunt, merciless libretto by Royce Vavrek and wheeling, nimble music by David T. Little, Dog Days portrays an American family brutalized by war, and the result is by turns intolerable and superb.”—Justin Davidson, January 11, 2016

Review: David T Little presents ‘opera theater’ at its finest (The Guardian)
“Led by conductor Alan Pierson, singers and actors handle the composer’s complex, percussive and hook-filled music with suave assurance”—Seth Colter Walls, January 10, 2016

Review: In ‘Dog Days,’ a Family Clawing for Survival (New York Times)
“With its boldly eclectic score and powerful libretto, “Dog Days” tells an apocalyptic story unstintingly”—

Interview: Tony Award Nominee, Lauren Worsham Shines in the Darkness (Center on the Aisle)
“Tony award nominee, Lauren Worsham — best known to Broadway audiences as murderous Monty’s fiancée, Phoebe in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” — has taken a turn past musical comedy and found herself deep in darkness. Not as a villain however, but in style, as a performer and leading lady having just released her first full-length album, “Beautiful Monster” with her indie-pop band, Sky-Pony and in the post-apocalyptic opera, “Dog Days” at NYU’s Skirball Center”—Steve Schonberg, January 8, 2016

Interview: Dog Days at the Prototype Festival (CurltureRadar)
“Dog Days is told from the perspective of 13-year-old Lisa, who, after her family survives an apocalyptic event, befriends a man trying to survive by becoming a dog. Culturadar blogger Shoshana Greenberg talked to Vavrek and David T. Little, composer of Dog Days, about their experience in the festival, their collaboration, and writing for a dog-man.” —Shoshana Greenberg,  January 6, 2015

Article: Angels, Demons and Opera: Boundary-Pushing Programs (The Wall Street Journal)
“If you wrote a five-minute string quartet about the fall of civilization, the tone of it would have to be really direct,” said David T. Little, the composer of “Dog Days,” about a nuclear family’s meltdown in a post-apocalyptic world, and its telltale responses to a stranger who has chosen to regress into a canine-like persona.” —Steve Dollar, January 5, 2015

“I don’t know how I made this career,” he acknowledges to us during our talk with him in his Bushwick apartment. “I’m legitimately only writing libretti. Aside from doing a couple of classes at different universities and one-offs, I’m not working in any other capacity. I’m making no money besides from writing libretti and lyrics.””  —Frank J. Oteri, January 1, 2016

Article:  Fully Committed: The Prototype Festival redefines contemporary opera. (The New Yorker)
“Amidst the general uncertainty of New York’s operatic scene, the Prototype Festival, an annual explosion of youthful energy spearheaded by Beth Morrison Projects and the experimental theatre space HERE, has built a clearly defined profile: brash, socially engaged, and substantially post-classical.”— Russell Platt, January 11, 2016 Issue

Article: ‘Dog Days’ Is Centerpiece of Prototype Festival (NY Times)
For new music, the main difficulty isn’t getting a premiere. It’s getting a second performance, and a third, and a fourth, the repetitions necessary for a piece really to enter the cultural bloodstream. That hasn’t been a problem for the acclaimed opera “Dog Days,” a post-apocalyptic family drama based on a short story by Judy Budnitz.” December 31, 2015

Interview: Interview: John Kelly on Getting in Touch with His Feral Side for Post-Apocalyptic Opera ‘Dog Days’ (StageBuddy)
“Performance artist John Kelly is known for his emotionally and intellectually complex works in which he draws from elements of his own life, current politics and other arts. Going from writing, to singing, to acting, Kelly is always on the lookout for the next challenge, and in the contemporary opera Dog Days (co-presented by NYU Skirball Center, Beth Morrison Projects and HERE’s Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now) he might have found one of the most exciting projects yet.” —Jose Solis

Interview: BWW Interview: Lauren Worsham Talks Sky Pony, Dog Days and Makes an Exciting Announcement! (BroadwayWorld)
“Tony nominee Lauren Worsham spoke with BroadwayWorld about her new Sky Pony album and upcoming role in Dog Days.”—Reilly Hickey, December 23, 2015

Article: Notable Performances and Recordings of 2015 (The New Yorker) “Amid a spate of ineffectual American operas on inoffensive themes, David T. Little’s “Dog Days,” which had its première in 2012 and which I saw in a presentation by the L.A. Opera, is stunning in its ferocity.” —Alex Ross, December 15, 2015

Article: The Kaleidoscopic World of Royce Vavrek (Opera News)
“His words give a bizarre lift to contemporary opera. This spring, librettist Royce Vavrek’s Dog Dayscomes to Fort Worth and L.A. HEIDI WALESON talks with one of opera’s freshest new voices.” —Heidi Waleson,, The Wall Street Journal, April, 2015

Article: The Battle to Make Opera Cool: Meet the Bright Young Things of New York City’s Opera Renaissance (The Daily Beast) “It took the hard work of producer Beth Morrison to give David T. Little the platform he needed. Morrison first heard of him when she was sent his song cycle “Soldier Songs.” She cried throughout the entire thing. Cut to the first PROTOTYPE and the work is being staged before an audience, and she helped to stage Dog Days, too.”— David Levesley, March 1, 2015


Join us for a post-show discussion and Q&A with composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek, moderated by Randall Eng, Assistant Arts Professor, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing , NYU Tisch School of the Arts.