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Circa's Leviathan performance by Johannes Reinhart

Circa's Leviathan: Art of Circus Movement

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Course Description

Stanford Live will host Circa’s internationally-renowned ensemble and a local cast of circus performers, dancers and young people to perform Leviathan, a world premiere circus event. This Arts Intensive class will provide students experience in movement, dance, and/or circus arts the opportunity to study the legacy of circus and join the rehearsals to ultimately perform in Leviathan with Circa on Sept. 30 & Oct. 1, 2022. Working with Circa's Artistic team and ensemble performers, students will be required to participate in three weeks of rehearsal to learn the show and perform. Students will also work with Circa's Artistic Director, Yaron Lifschitz, during final rehearsals and in season. Aleta Hayes will offer a supportive curriculum exploring the artistic themes of collaboration, movement, and using art to express the human experience. Curriculum will also focus on the emotional and physical aspects of mounting a complex performance.

Circus studies within the academic field of performance studies is a heavily under-researched area. The 19th century circus offers fascinating histories of race and gender in performance. The history of the circus is also a history of technology and coincides with the industrial revolution’s persistent push to merge the human and the machine – the constant attempt to test and push against the boundaries of humanity’s frailties and mortality. Contemporary circus draws from current cultural aesthetics, street vernacular, movement improvisation-- blurring lines between dance, theater and circus. We will look at pioneers of the genre including Cirque Du Soleil, Pickle Family circus, Archaos and more recent examples like the Tiger Lillies, the Lucent dossier Company and others.

The art of circus is taken in an exciting new direction as 36 performers hang from a grid suspended in the air and propel themselves across the stage, tumbling, balancing and soaring together. The dramatic power and extreme skill of Circa’s trademark acrobatics thrillingly expose the tension between the mass and the individual in this epic theatrical event that is at once deeply moving and physically stunning.

In these complex times, Leviathan offers hope by celebrating what can be achieved when we work together. This action-packed show connects the local with the global and the emerging with the visionary and genuinely pushes boundaries in a powerful new circus production.

*Please note that Arts Intensive and initial rehearsals with Circa will take place September 6-23. Additional evening rehearsals will be scheduled and required leading up to the September 30 and October 1 performances following Arts Intensive period. Students must commit to the full intensive in addition to the final rehearsals and ultimate performances the week of September 24 to October 1.

Meet the Instructor

Aleta Hayes

Aleta Hayes

Aleta Hayes is a contemporary dancer, choreographer, performer, and teacher. Before her appointment at Stanford, Ms. Hayes taught for eight years at Princeton University in the Program in Theater and Dance and the Program in African American Studies. While at Princeton, Ms. Hayes developed pedagogically innovative courses that combined cultural and performance history, theory, and performance. She has also taught at Wesleyan University, Swarthmore College, and Rutgers University. Ms. Hayes holds an M.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A., with Departmental Honors, in Drama, Dance and the Visual Arts from Stanford University (1991). In 2009 Hayes founded the Chocolate Heads Movement Band --an interdisciplinary, collaborative  performance troupe that has been presented at Stanford Ted X, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in S.F. and at the inaugural season of the Bing Concert Hall.