Philadelphia’s all-female aerial dance company Tangle Movement Arts is bringing a collection of queer circus theater stories off the ground with its new show, “Points of Light,” debuting this weekend at Old City’s Neighborhood House.
Tangle founder and performer Lauren Rile Smith said company members are using their skills on the trapeze and aerial silks to share stories of women traveling blindfolded, surviving under the weight of the earth and climbing to new heights.
“We bring our signature aerial storytelling to every new work that Tangle produces,” Smith said about this show’s focus. “But right now it’s a political time when we feel it’s especially important to raise the voices of women, particularly queer women. This show reflects that, with a dozen fresh stories of challenge and triumph told in the kinetic language of circus arts.”
Smith added that, while the stories being told come from people’s experiences, the way they are presented on stage can leave them open to different audience interpretations.
“We have a really good range,” she said. “Some of the stories follow concrete and relatable paths and others are more elusive, letting the audience use their own experiences and imaginations.”
This show also differs from previous Tangle productions in that the stories were developed before the choreography came into the picture.
“Usually, we build the physical technique and the messaging with one another during the creation process,” Smith said. “This time around, I think we were especially inspired by telling stories of survival and resistance. That’s a really strong theme in our show.”
Adding another layer of complexity and meaning to the show is the fact that Smith will be performing a trapeze solo for two when she takes to the stage.
“I’ll be performing at seven-months pregnant,” she said. “I must say, I can’t get on or off the trapeze by myself so I have a human pyramid of literal support. But once I’m up there, I have a story to tell. So I’m really excited about that.”
Yeah, we’re thinking the same thing: It must be quite the feat doing circus aerials while very pregnant, right?
“There are certain things I’m taking more care with,” Smith admitted. “It ramps up the tension for the audience, particularly my wife, who is one of Tangle’s collaborators and instrumental to the piece. But it really stresses her out to watch it.”
Us too. Good luck!
Tangle Movement Arts presents “Points of Light” April 7-8 at Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St. For more information or tickets, call 215-266-6215 or visit www.tangle-arts.com.