TROY — The Contemporary Circus and Immersive Arts Center is presenting 10 days of circus events under a big top tent this month in Troy’s Prospect Park.
The schedule includes three performances by a professional touring company, a summer camp for kids, workshops for both kids or adults, and an immersive dining experience — all exploring different facets of contemporary circus. None of these events feature performing animals, but instead put the focus on the incredible capabilities of the human body demonstrated through acrobatics, juggling, and more.
“This season we’re offering different types of circus experiences to appeal to an even wider audience,” said Aaron Marquise, CCIAC executive director. “This is the biggest season of programming we’ve done so far, and we’re adding a big top tent on top of it all.”
Last year, the Troy-based organization presented three open-air circus performances in the park. This year, all the activities will occur under a 34 foot-tall, 4,000 square-foot tent that holds 250 people. Rain is no longer an issue, but the tent also affords greater control over lighting and sound, and will allow the crew to hang aerial equipment.
The Main Attraction:
“One Man’s Trash”
All Ages. Aug. 26, 27, 28
For the main event, CCIAC will host Boston-based Cirque Us to perform their new show “One Man’s Trash: A Repurposed Circus.”
“Trash” is a junkyard adventure featuring acrobats, high-flying aerialists and quirky clowns who live behind the bins and trash can lids. Inhabiting a space of discovery and fun, this repurposed circus turns trash into treasure. Characters dive into dumpsters to recycle, reuse and reinvent rubbish to make a circus extravaganza.
Marquise notes this family-friendly show is accessible to younger audiences while featuring all the high-level skills that CCIAC audiences have come to expect.
“Trash” is performed Friday Aug. 26 at 6 p.m., Saturday Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. and on Sunday Aug. 28 at 2 p.m.
Each performance will have a total of 225 seats available, including 75 paid seats and 150 free seats. There are three ways to get a seat at each performance. The first option is to purchase a $25 ticket for “preferred seating” in the middle section of the tent. (Children under the age of 2 may be admitted free to the preferred seating area if they sit on ticketholder’s lap.)
For each performance, there are 75 free seats that can be reserved in advance on the CCIAC website. Finally, there are 75 seats available for free to walkups, no reservation is necessary.
Free reserved seats are only guaranteed up to 5 minutes before the start of the show and then they will be given to walkups on line.
CCIAC encourages those who can afford it to purchase tickets so those who don’t have disposable income may still have the opportunity to enjoy the circus.
Tickets and reservations are available online at https://www.cciac.us.
The house opens 30 mins. before showtime.
No dogs except trained service animals will be allowed under the big top.
An Immersive Dining Experience
Age 21+ Aug. 19 & 20, 7 – 9 p.m.
On Friday Aug. 19 and Saturday, Aug 20, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., CCIAC will present “Oh, Garçon!” billed as “dinner and a show like you’ve never quite experienced!”
This immersive performance staged around a dinner party will transport guests to another time and place where haute couture is all the rage. Diners will relax, sip some wine and enjoy a three-course meal, prepared by a private chef and served by a unique waiter who can be summoned with “Oh, Garçon!”
The waiter will be none other than Marquise, a professional clown who trained at Montreal’s prestigious Ecole Nationale de Cirque and has performed throughout Europe. His concept for this show started with the idea of creating space where strangers can connect over food and laughter.
“I love dinner parties, which combine food and conversations between strangers. Of course, I also love making people laugh,” said Marquise. “In ‘Oh, Garçon!’ I found a way to bring all of these things together in a unique way, where people get a restaurant-going experience they’ve never wanted before.”
The format allows Marquise to provide an experience for guests and then step away from it momentarily, as a waiter would, leaving room for dinner guests to become part of the entertainment as they would at any other dinner party.
Seating is communal, dinner-party style (under a “big top” tent). Attendees may be required to move around the performance venue. Anyone with limited mobility should contact the CCIAC when purchasing tickets.
Guests will be asked for dietary requirements when purchasing tickets and the chef will craft any necessary changes around that. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options available.
Tickets are $75 per person, available at https://www.cciac.us.
“Critics are raving about ‘Oh, Garçon!’,” Marquise jokes. “‘I’ve never waited longer for a meal,’ they say. ‘I don’t think this guy is a real waiter,’ and my favorite: ‘If you want one of the best meals you’ve ever had in one of the most aesthetically pleasing atmospheres, all delivered with the finest service around… go someplace else.”’
Circus Camp For Kids,
Ages 8 to 16, Aug. 22 – 26
CCIAC is offering a one-week full or half-day camp for kids, ages 8-16, featuring aerial and ground-based circus skills including aerial silks, tumbling and juggling — all under the big top in the park. There will be a showcase for family and friends at the end of the week!
Full-Day Camp runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, Monday, Aug. 22 to Friday, Aug. 26, and costs $250. Half-Day Camp is offered from 9 a.m. to Noon or from Noon to 4 p.m. and costs $175. Before Care, from 8 a.m to 9 a.m., costs $50. After Care, from 4 p.m to 5 p.m., costs $50. Combined Before and After Care are offered for $75.
CCIAC offers a Member-affiliate Discount of 10% off kids camp costs.
“The way that I got introduced to circus was through a circus camp,” said Marquise. “Circus as an art form is a great way for anyone to learn trust and communication and working as a team because there is a lot of that in the circus.”
Workshops for Kids or Adults
Aug 20 – 21
There will be one-hour circus workshops for both kids and geared for adults. Like the summer camp, these workshops will introduce students to aerial silks, tumbling and juggling. No prior experience is needed.
The workshops for kids age 4+ are free on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m, and on Sunday, Aug. 21, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Workshops for adults cost $25 and are offered Sunday, Aug. 21, from 2 p.m to 3 p.m and from 5 p.m to 6 p.m
“The kids workshops are for families who can’t commit to week-long camp but want to get to know circus a little more,” Marquise said. “For adults, the workshops are a great way to grab a friend and join the circus… for an hour.”
Tickets and reservations to all performances, workshops and camp can be obtained at https://www.cciac.us
Prospect Park is a hilly 80-acre city park overlooking downtown and South Troy, that is accessed by car from Congress Street (NY-2). The park was originally designed in 1903 by local landscape engineer Garnet Douglass Baltimore, the first African-American graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“Prospect Park is really the crown jewel of our city and we are so excited to be hosting high quality family-friendly programming,” said Peter Grimm, president of Friends of Prospect Park. “Seeing the big top go up in Prospect Park is going to be a magical, timeless sight to behold.”
CCIAC’s “Circus in the Park” series is the final offering in Friends of Prospect Park’s 2022 “Summer in Prospect Park” series, which included Shakespeare performances by Will Kempe’s Players in June, and free “Yoga in the Park” every Wednesday until Aug. 17.