Nancy Churnin The Dallas Morning News
Arts & Entertainment
03 January 2014
Lone Star Circus has always put on a fabulous show, but the latest installment, Charivari, seems more buoyant than ever.
Breathtaking exploits expand blissfully in the intimate space, with Lone Star-trained Morgan and Cody flipping on the double trapeze right over the heads of the audience. But it’s more than that — it’s the sense that the dream of a homegrown circus, created and directed by Fanny Kerwich, has taken firm root in Dallas soil.
Lone Star, a new recipient of a $10,000 TACA grant, is now part of the Dallas Children’s Theater season. And Kerwich, who nurtures the next generation of artists in her Lone Star Circus school, has struck a joyful balance between local and international stars. The charms of Dallas favorites Slappy and Monday (married clowns Tiffany Riley and Dick Monday), Liz Mikel and B.J. Cleveland anchor the talent, with Dallas-based Alex Acero adding a fresh spin of clowning and acrobatics.
U.S. national champion rhythmic gymnast Shelby Kisiel kicks off the action like a bird emerging from a golden cage to do remarkable flips and spins with a golden ball. Christian Atayde Stoinev seems all seriousness with formidable hand balancing until his adorable dog, Scooby, jumps in the act, clambering over Stoinev as he somersaults and does handstands.
The juggling Fusco Brothers — identical twins from Buenos Aires — pull off the rare feat of juggling nine rings at once along with two-man tricks that stunned the circus savvy at the Jan. 1 performance. Kids in the audience couldn’t get enough of the four-legged stars of the Pompeyo Family & Their Amazing Rescue Dogs act, with the biggest applause going to a little pup in a Superman suit that leapt off a tower into Jorge Pompeyo’s arms.
New U.S. citizens Karoly and Anita Zeman electrify with their BMX and roller skating spins, and Morgaine and Ryan of California dance dazzlingly in an aerial strap ballet. Dallas talent held its own, with Lone Star grad Jesse Patterson pouring passion into her hula hoop act, while Stephanie Stewart’s elegant rope twisting drew depth from Mikel crooning to her like a snake charmer coaxing a coiling snake.
Meanwhile the performers’ children sparkled in brief glimpses, twirling a silk here, riding a bicycle there, like a promise of circuses to come.