Cirque Montage Brings Colorful Show to Macey

SOCORRO, N.M. January 24, 2014 – Cirque Montage, billed as “a whimsical world of animated characters that defy the perception of what is possible,” will bring its collage of traditional cutting-edge circus acts to New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center in a Performing Arts Series event at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.

“Cirque Montage puts on an absolutely amazing show that will delight people of all ages,” said Series Director Ronna Kalish. “This is a show the whole family can enjoy, in the contemporary-circus style of Cirque du Soleil.”

Kalish, of course, was referring to the hugely popular Canadian entertainment company and its stage shows, including a permanent presence in Las Vegas, Nev. “In fact,” she said, “most of the members of Cirque Montage, including the artistic director, are former Cirque du Soleil performers.”

Nonetheless, every good circus has a Ringmaster, and Cirque Montage is no exception. In this case, the top-hat wearing impresario is shadowed by a mischievous and featherless red bird named Raven in search of fame.

The Macey Center stage will come alive with colorful dancers, an electrifying father-and-daughter hand-balancing adagio, a variety of high flying aerial arts and a bombastic juggler dancing as if he’s in the last round of a marathon.

New acts include an African foot juggler, the featherless bird Raven on aerial hoop and duo silks, and Polynesian fire and knife dancers. Also look for new comedy acts performed by Darren Zatkow and the Ringmaster, played by Carlos Ragas.

“Keep your eye on Raven,” said Kalish cryptically. “That bird ultimately gets to take the spotlight and reminds us of the potential and beauty of the human body.”

Among Facebook reviews are the following:

 “This was an amazing show. It combined humor, acrobats, entertaining skills ... My kids LOVED this show. I was equally as entertained. I was especially impressed that it wasn’t just a string of entertainers, there was an actual plot line to follow. “

“My husband and I have seen this show three times, and each time it brings something more. We would recommend to all. They have so many talented performers. They were all excellent! Our favorites were the father and daughter act. Their strength and talent was amazing.

A man named Philip Astley is credited with being the “father” of the modern circus when he opened the first circus in 1768 in England. Early circuses almost exclusively focused on showcasing equestrian skills, with other feats linking the horsemanship performances.

The “traditional” format, whereby a ringmaster introduces a variety of choreographed acts, developed in the latter part of 19th century and continued almost universally to be the main style of circuses up until 1970s.

 “The word ‘circus’ comes from the Latin for ‘circle,’” Kalish said. “This makes sense when one considers that early circus buildings included a center ring and sometimes a stage.”

In time, the static circus took to the road with performances under Big Tops, or large tents, and this traveling venue became the most common circus form and remains so to this day, particularly in rural America.

Cirque Montage follows in the path of the contemporary circus performance, a mix of acrobatic mastery and story-telling in a magical stage setting.

One thing that hasn’t changed about the circus format is its entertainment value in a family milieu. “People will be amazed watching this talented troupe of performers,” said Kalish. “Just sit back, relax, let the fun unfold and prepare to be absolutely amazed.”

Sponsors for the Jan. 31 performance are the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, the New Mexico Tech Student Government Association (GSA), Associated Universities, Inc. (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) and Best Western in Socorro.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youth, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Sofia’s Kitchen, on-line at nmtpas.org (for a small service charge), or at the door.  


By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech