Its name is Circus Harmony, an incredible assemblage of child performers, some as young as six and seven, who amaze audiences regularly with their professional and in some cases unbelievable feats of flight and magic.
Under the direction of Jessica Hentoff, Richard Kennison and a host of performing teachers and staff, this “social circus” nurtures and teaches young performers to develop their circus chops and bring us amazing shows like the one now playing at the City Museum.
"Capriccio" is billed as a vaudevillian adventure; it is non-stop circus until we’re finally allowed to breathe for fifteen minutes during the intermission. Performances are professional, precision, and some of the performers leave audience members gasping in disbelief.
Four young women, the oldest eighteen, the youngest eight, do a “silks” act, hanging upside down and sideways from two huge pieces of silk fabric. They pose, re-manipulate the fabric, and pose again held only by their own strength and the intricate, expert wrapping of the silk around various body parts. At the end they apparently slip from the knots and free fall only to stop suddenly dangling upside down with their heads inches from the ground!
There’s a wild unicycle act with some very tiny little children pedaling like crazy and doing tricks of balance and skill that are astounding, including an almost square dance type threading of whizzing bodies at break-neck speed.
Five contortionists, four girls and one boy, who appear to have no bones in their bodies at all, amaze us with their gyrations and strength. A smiling thirteen year old does the old WC Fields cigar box juggling act with deft skill far beyond his age. And sixteen year old Kellin Quinn juggles a variety of objects with unbelievable skill.
Finn Mateo McNamee plays the ventriloquist dummy to perfection then later joins the troop as a live boy. At just seven years old, he’s the youngest of the performers in this show.
The Circus Harmony live Band sets the breakneck pace of the Table Sliding Act to the Sabre Dance by Khachaturian. It’s a comic piece and the kids whizz by so quickly that before it’s done one could swear there were a good deal more than just the nine young performers listed in the program.
Three lovely young ladies do impossible things with glittery hula hoops, there are trapeze acts and wire walking, hand balancing, partner acrobatics, aerial cradle and yes, tap dancing and a live singer, Morissa Pepose, whose voice is surprisingly mature for her short seventeen years, adds flavor and presence to the vaudeville theme.
Whew! Jessica and the gang have presented us with a whizz-bang show sure to please the most ardent circus lover.
"Capriccio" is located inside the City Museum and has performances through January 26, 2013. For more information you may go to www.circusharmony.org.