Circus Flora makes its every move together, not in competition
Photo by Steve Truesdell
The St. Louis Arches performed Friday in Circus Flora’s new show “The Pawn.”
By Chris King
June 5, 2014
Chess and the circus arts both demand intense concentration and intricate forethought. Circus Flora invites comparison and collaboration between these two human endeavors with its new chess-themed show “The Pawn,” which opened Friday in the big tent pitched in the Powell Hall parking lot.
Musicians and orchestra fans were filing into Powell Hall while the circus crowd was gathering. The physical proximity of concert hall and circus tent begs mention of Circus Flora’s music. On Friday Janine Del’Arte, playing woodwinds, led a world-class circus orchestra through Miriam Cutler’s thrilling original compositions. Cutler and Del’Arte illustrate the circus action so perfectly it’s possible to forget human beings are making the music live inside the same tent.
The passionate collaboration that goes into every element of Circus Flora – down to the crew hands, at times panting for breath in the narrow aisles – is where the chess comparison breaks down. In chess, two players compete for mastery. There is a winner and a loser, and beating an opponent is essential to the game. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth of the circus.
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