Circus dance company revisits acclaimed performance piece

Circus dance company revisits acclaimed performance piece

Photo: Elyssa Goodman
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The award-winning Almanac Dance Circus Theatre is returning to Philly to revive an incarnation of its acclaimed show, “Communitas,” through May 26.

The show is a wordless acrobatic performance telling the story of the founding of a society in which all members are equals.

We can dream, cant we?

Out performer and founding company member Ben Grinberg said the version of the show that Almanac is performing now has evolved from what the company originally created that took over North America. 

“We premiered the show in May 2014 and then toured a version of that show that was pretty much the same until the summer of 2016,” Grinberg said. “Then we stopped performing the show for about three years. This is our first reimagining of it since then. It’s 85 percent a new show now because we are working with only two of the original four cast members, and also brand new live musicians. It feels like it’s a pretty different show, but its built on some really deep and lasting relationships that have been emerging over the last five years.”

The founder added that the “artistry and technical skill have been maturing.” The show has the same concept as they had originally conceived, but the content has changed.

Because the show expresses itself through music and movement, it can mean different things to different people, Grinberg added.

“We have some pretty risky partner acrobatics that require a lot of trust and a lot of support,” he said. “I think that there’s obviously some pretty huge themes that come in layers.”

A wordless piece, “it is about encounters, interactions and development of relationships, and the ways that we start to rely on each other and play with each other and emerge into conflict and get through that conflict.”

Grinberg said he hopes audiences leave the performance with an enhanced appreciation of a collective sense of community. 

“We want to create an experience that’s completely legible, even through all of its idiosyncrasies. It’s a really moving show. By the end, I hope that people will have laughed pretty hard and seen the ways that we need to rely on each other when doing these risky physical things, and see those as a metaphor as the way that they need to rely on their own communities and we need to rely on our own communities, even in the community we are forming inside the theater on any given night.”


Almanac Dance Circus Theater performs “Communitas: Five Years Later,” through May 25 at Funicular Station, 416 West Coulter St. in Germantown, and a special encore performance 8 p.m. May 26 at Penn Treaty Park. For more information or tickets, visit

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