Cirque! CarnEvil impresses Union

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By Becca Seel

On Thursday, Oct. 28, the circus came to town with “Cirque! CarnEvil,” a company of performers from various dance and performance backgrounds who combined their skills and experience, as well as Union talent, to provide a unique show that incorporated academics and performance into a memorable night. The event was sponsored by the Departments of Modern Languages, Visual Arts, and Theater and Dance, as well as Minerva Programs, Residential Life, and French Club.

After a performance in front of the building by students and Professor Charles Batson, the audience shuffled inside to a dramatic, sparse, black-and-white set. Choreographer Louis Guillemette began the performance, joined by David Menes, who wowed the audience by balancing, rolling, and tossing a clear glass ball over his body. Dancer Danielle Hubbard and acrobat Ugo Laffolay performed a vignette that embraced both discipline and dance.

There was always movement  on the stage. Each performer had a different style and performed  feats which delighted the audience.

Students were also involved. According to Professor Batson, the show was “interactive for students open to collaboration.” Students lined either side of the stage, posed and silently watching the performance. At one point, Ben Romer ‘11 leapt onto the stage and integrated himself into the show.

When the stage show ended, the audience was led out to the back of the theater, before where welding and sculpture students Hubbard and Menes displayed their fire arts. The sculpture students stood or kneeled silently as their tools caused sparks, providing a weird and wonderful background to the dancing flames of the artists.

“Cirque CarnEvil” was engaging and fascinating, and as Professor Batson points out, a great way to connect Union between departments, academics, and students. Batson was “stunned and thrilled” by the success of the event and “new interaction with art.”

“The role of art is to see something new and different,” said Batson. Based on the success of “Cirque! CarnEvil,” Batson is confident that “[Union] is ready to see more and more.”

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