Urban by Circolombia-Auckland Art Festival



Urban begins with an announcement, that whilst flash photography is not allowed, normal photography and videoing is and we are encouraged to put it up online. Excellent! This is a show that’s up with the times. Possibly a reflection on the age of the performers, but more likely on the fact that you get the impression these guys run on a pretty tight budget and a bit of free online marketing never goes astray.


If you like the glitz and glam of Cirque du Soleil-type circuses, then this is possibly not for you. Don’t expect fancy costumes and expensive sets. However, if what excites you is people doing amazing things with their bodies, then you will get a great buzz out of Circolombia’s performance. This is circus at its edgiest.


The group throw their bodies around with such force and reckless abandon, using each other as trampolines and swings to propel themselves through the air and onto stacks, three acrobats high. It’s high energy; fast paced and raw.


There were strands of story that came through in an attempt to tie the show together. Two groups face off in one piece and later, one of the performers told his story of life on the street before discovering the circus. It was tenuous at best though and left me uncertain that there had even been an intention to have a story line. Some of the transitions were also a bit clunky which left people a bit uncertain about when they were meant to be cheering. Half a day ironing out those issues though and it would fly. Or just abandoning the story altogether because the acts speak for themselves.

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In-between the acrobatics were sections of dance. Quite frankly, if it had been a show of just dance, it would have been enough to impress. But we got so much more than that- tightrope, aerial work, people being launched off giant see-saws and men doing handstands on the shoulders of a man standing on the shoulders of another man. Not to mention, the music used in the performance is all original.


They also put my primary school jump-roping to shame. I couldn’t stop the ‘WHOOP’ of joy that came flying out when 2 men were simultaneously doing pushup jumps over the ropes. Wow.


Aside from having a great night out, 50% of the profits from Circolombia’s performances go to funding circus schools in Colombia. So you can feel good about your ethical choice of Festival event whilst being thoroughly entertained.