Showing posts with label Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival 2022. Show all posts

Saturday, April 23, 2022

REVIEW: BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest in The Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival 2022 at The Den Theatre

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest

Friday 5:30-7, Saturday 9:30-11 (13+)


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

When folks think of contemporary circus arts, many think of Europe or French Canadian companies, but circus arts are alive and well right here in the midwest, and include plenty of talented BIPOC performers. Circus skills are a powerfully visual way to explore collective trauma and joy of the lived experiences of people of color today.  

I caught the BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest's lineup for The Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival and it's well worth a look. The ceiling may be low at The Den, but the bar is high, and BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest's aerial arts are hardly less impressive for happening close to the ground, instead of in the peak of a bigtop tent dozens of feet above. This intimate performance space provides great sight lines and a personal connection to the artists and the content behind their superhuman feats. 

The diverse lineup has a bit of everything from powerful duo acts to a family who incorporated their infant into their straps act! Performers range from a teen juggling/acro act from Actors' Gymnasium, to older performers in the highly impressive and entertaining FUNKBOTNOTS act. We particularly loved the lyra act. The artists were thought provoking, talented, silly, sexy, and deep in turn, providing a full range of interesting, creative acts. Don't miss this. Their show repeats one more time Saturday night. Check it out. 

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Our show will be a themed cabaret that tracks the lives of People Of Color as they learn to re-start their lives and re-engage with the outside world two years after the onset of a global pandemic. This is a collection of individual stories depicting a range of human emotions and unique challenges faced by POC in the contemporary American landscape. This show will be stripped down, human, and honest, focusing on communicating feelings through movement. Disciplines will include rope, straps, aerial hammock, diabolo, and silks. Show content is PG-13. Purchase tickets at The Den box office or in advance HERE:



Valeria Rosero

The Actor's Gymnasium Teen Ensemble

Jessica Bailey


Eric Rodney Robinson

Chris, Amy, & CJ Rooney

Nick Ng

BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest 

The BIPOC Circus Alliance Midwest (BCAM) is a collective of circus practitioners and performing artists dedicated to creating more supportive, inclusive, and representative circus communities by:

- Advocating for equity and inclusion in training, teaching, and performance spaces

- Partnering with circus organizations to implement policy changes designed to increase BIPOC representation and inclusion within customers/students and staff

- Celebrating and amplifying BIPOC stories in circus

- Creating community, support, and mutual positive encouragement for BIPOC circus practitioners and performers

- Creating opportunities for circus practitioners of color to create, collaborate, and perform together

Since our formation in 2020 we have produced performances, facilitated discussions on race and circus with over 20 circus organizations, and provided focused consultation to circus organizations looking to diversify their spaces. 

For more info check out:

Friday, April 22, 2022

REVIEW: Surface Tension at Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Surface Tension

by to x for

(all ages)

Thursday 5:30-7, Friday 7:30-9

at The Den Theatre in Chicago's Wicker Park Neighborhood

Photos tag: @xav13rclaudio


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

I caught this piece at the opening of the  Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival Thursday night and I was completely charmed by Surface Tension.  David and Liam, clad in overalls, embody the childlike curiosity and play of preschoolers, or puppies, with the adult twist of impressive circus skills and control. This lovely exploration of parallel play, competition, bonding, and friendship runs the gamut of positive and negative emotions. Surface Tension includes gift giving and forgiving, the pettiness of fighting and storming off, love, loss, and reconciliation. The friends take turns sharing time in the spotlight, creating, entertaining and supporting one another through juggling, diablo, movement, and partner acro. Highly recommended. Great for all ages. It's a playful, positive piece, full of genuine camaraderie, that's a joy to see. 

It was my pleasure to interview David Chervony as one of our five featured artists for the fest. Check it out, then keep an eye out for Surface Tension and/or ​to x for. I'm hoping this piece is just the first of many to come from ​to x for, contemporary circus company. 

Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday at The Den Theatre! We've picked 5 performers from the upcoming fest to feature and we're asking them all Six Quick Questions. Meet artist, David Chervony, whose show is one of the fest openers at 5:30 Thursday and repeats Friday night as well.

ChiIL Live Shows' Interview 

Your name/pronouns: David Chervony (He/They)

Your show(s) title/dates/times: Surface Tension, Thursday at 5:30p, Friday at 7:30p at the Bookspan Theater

1.  ChiIL Live Shows: Tell me something quirky or unique about yourself?

I have an encyclopedic knowledge of board games.

2. CLS: Why do you personally do circus arts/dance/performing arts?

I have a lot to say and have no idea how to say it. I love being with audiences, with them challenging me and I them. I love doing things that don't make sense. Circus (and all art) has allowed me to do these things.

3. CLS: How has the pandemic impacted and/or changed you as a performing artist?

I've been able to focus on how I want to create as an artist. It is easy to get entirely lost in solo work as a circus artist--especially with juggling, I can practice for hours and never interact with anyone else. But during the pandemic, I re-discovered how important the ensemble is for my creative process. Collaboration and trust allow me to tell stories I can't imagine telling without other artists.

4. CLS: Did you devise your own act or audition? If it’s your own, what sparked the idea for this piece? If it’s a collaboration, what made you want to be part of this act?

Liam Bradley and I first started working together late last year on an elementary school show. Originally, I thought it was just going to be a job--but very quickly, things evolved. We wrote massive amounts of material in a matter of days. We bonded over shared experiences and our thoughts about art. It was, as we both have said, the easiest creation process either of us have ever been in. We decided to create a full-length work, founded our grassroots collective, Company To X For, and debuted Surface Tension at Miniball Fest in Philadelphia in early April. It received a terrific reception and we are so excited to share this intimate, personal, and fun contemporary circus show in the Chicago Circus and Performing Arts Festival.

5. CLS: What type of audience do you envision seeing your show and why?

Our show is about a queer relationship. This show is for anyone who has ever had a close friendship or relationship. This show is for all ages. We truly believe this show has something for everyone.

6. CLS: Any words of wisdom for younger performers who want to follow in your footsteps?

Create what you want and what you need. Find what inspires you. Do things that scare you. And always, always, charge more money for your work. You're worth it.

For more info on the whole fest running this Thursday through Sunday, here's our feature:

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

Surface Tension takes a beautiful and daring look at a queer friendship. At points ecstatic, dark, searching, and joyful, this intimate circus show celebrates vulnerable connection through sincere juggling, acrobatics, weight-sharing, object manipulation, and dance. 

Purchase tickets HERE:

Company Info: @CompanyToXFor

​to x for is a new contemporary circus company created by Liam Bradley and David Chervony.    We create intimate work through juggling, acrobatics, and dance that is driven by passion, connection, and pure excitement. We are currently in development of our first work, entitled Surface Tension. The initial iteration of the work was first performed this November, but we have plans to expand it much farther.

David Chervony is a circus artist and creator based in Chicago. He has performed nationally, notably with Midnight Circus, Cirque Us!, Masters of Gravity, and others. He directed AMAZE at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theater in Branson, Missouri as well as writing and producing Life of the Party by Low Ceiling Circus. For more information, including his CV and videos, visit

Liam Bradley is a juggler, acrobat, and mover from Chicago, IL. Liam is a graduate of Circadium School of Contemporary Circus and he's currently excitedly working on circus projects in his hometown. Liam plays with rhythm, space, and convention to create unique manipulation and movement performances. He’s inspired by old school hip-hop, impressionist paintings, and over-priced food. His goal is to defy expectations and create entirely curious compositions.

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