Traces has passages of gasp-inducing acrobatic moments, but it could use more of them throughout the show.
By Marty Clear, Times Correspondent
January 31, 2013
TAMPA — Seven Fingers, the Montreal-based troupe behind Traces, has as its goal to bring circus to a "human scale."
And that they have done. In Traces, which opened Tuesday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, the company members dress in grayish more-or-less street clothes, instead of the garish spangled tights of the circus or the mystical disguises of Cirque du Soleil. They introduce themselves to the audience by name and they provide their birthdates and a few personality traits.
But a little more spectacle and little less humanity might actually have helped. Traces has a lot of stunning acrobatics and graceful, whimsical modern dance, but it also has an awful lot of long dry stretches, filled with moves you've seen many times before. And its set and costumes are visually tedious.
As in Cirque du Soleil shows, Traces has a plot line that audiences probably won't care about, or even discern unless they do research. In this case, it has something to do with seven people trapped inside a bunker while some kind of apocalypse is happening outside. The set is the color of ashes, and the performers wear charcoal business suits and white shirts.
The 90-minute show is episodic. An early dance piece, very pretty and punctuated by gasp-inducing acrobatic moments, is followed by an interminable segment in which the cast members toss around a basketball for no apparent reason. There's an astounding passage in which the cast performs gorgeous, daring and seemingly superhuman moves on poles, high above the stage, and an incongruous passage in which one cast member strums a guitar and sings a love song that isn't very good. That's actually the only weak music in the entire show, though. Several cast members play credibly, and the recorded backing tracks, mostly with pop and electronica flavoring, sound great and serve as excellent complements to the physical performances.
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