NICA Circosis circus Melbourne

NICA presents their circus showcase in ‘Circosis: Left Brain, Right Brain’

Shimmering forms, feats of marvel and the everyday made magical is what this year’s NICA Bachelor of Circus Arts graduating students display in their mid-year skills showcase, Circosis: Left Brain, Right Brain. Enter a world of possibility, where ‘normal’ is turned on its head. 

This year’s showcase of 23 students is split across two nights. They audition for entry from across the country and internationally.

It’s not just skills and drills on show. The visual storytelling is top-notch and this marvellous show is complemented by creative costume design from Melbourne Polytechnics‘ Diploma of Costume students, with artistic lighting design from Gina Gascoigne.

The venue is a buzz to see in itself, a multi-million dollar facility part of Swinburne University. Sneak a peek at interval to see equipment and daily practice schedules to get a feel for the expert craftsmanship honed over three years of hard graft.

‘Left Brain’ hit the ground running with Nelson’s Myles fabulous aerial leaps, bounding about the space — for some people ‘flight’ is a preferred mode of locomotion. Male stars included the sculptural form of Harley Timmerman on aerial straps (Atlas meets Eros), and Luke Thomas with a clever conceptual tissu piece involving grey plastic bags floating downwards from the top rig.

NICA Circosis circus Melbourne

At times, skill, grace, artistry and theatre coalesce to take you out of this world. Emily Gore’s nostalgic 1940s WWII-era work on the aerial ring transported us back to end-of-war Europe, and Jack Wilde’s cabaret magic took the audience into his hands with expert character. Riley Macdonald, as a Victorian dandy, wore a horror mask of black eyes in his swinging trapeze, and Ela Bartilomo amped up the raunch with her anti-fur rope piece.

Seeing unknown circus tricks presented in unique formats opened our minds. Elizabeth Jenkin’s urban parkour on the Chinese pole demonstrated new ways to explore public spaces. Amanda Lee’s elegant flexibility atop small plinths in her hand balancing took our breath away, and Jessie McKibbin ended this half in a marvel of four costume changes(!) and a last-minute drop of gold from the ceiling!

NICA Circosis circus Melbourne

Clever clowning and fooling around was interspersed — chickens down jumpsuits delightfully told by clever mime Maya Tregonning, and the agonies of public presentation wittily conveyed by Isaac Lawry with Smyles. Also included were human flowers and a surprising scene of nail nose hammering…it’s all part of a circus reality!

We watch the risks these performers take with their bodies and are transported into a whole new way of understanding human potential. This cast execute every move with surgical precision and this discipline is held in the same respect. Daredevil skills are currency of their trade, and teamwork which requires 100% focus is on display in the final ensemble acrobatics.

Events at NICA sell out, attracting some of the theatre world’s big gun producers (an internationally-renowned theatre director from London was in audience the night I attended). Stick your neck into this circus nursery for a preview of future marvels and world class performance-makers any chance you can!

– Sarah
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street, or in the box seat, she looks for quality works that push the envelope.

Circosis: Left Brain, Right Brain showed 15 June – 24 July, 7:30pm (90 minutes, 20 min. interval) at NICA. The venue is accessible.

Checkout NICA’s website for info on their courses and workshops or purchase tickets to their November Graduate Showcase while you still can!

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were the guests of Miranda Brown Publicity.
Image credit: Aaron-Walker-Photography.