Troupe Vertigo puts new spin on Nutcracker

Wednesday December 20, 2017

Read Article: East Valley Tribune
Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

When Aloysia Gavre arrived for “A Cirque Nutcracker” rehearsals with her California-based Troupe Vertigo, she was overwhelmed with excitement.

Now that it has made its world premiere at the Mesa Arts Center, the energy is palpable.

“It’s exhilarating,” said Gavre, Troupe Vertigo’s artistic director and a performer.

“This really gives the artists something new and challenging to merge the storyline with circus and dance.”

Troupe Vertigo performs above and within the Phoenix Symphony, who will play Tchaikovsky’s traditional score. Contortionists, aerialists and jugglers will perform on stage – and 40 feet above it.

“This is an entirely new way to experience this holiday favorite,” said Jim Ward, president and CEO of The Phoenix Symphony. “Clara’s journey has always been fantastical, but Troupe Vertigo takes it to a whole new level, literally and figuratively. They’ll leave you gasping in amazement.”

Todd Vigil, the symphony’s chief marketing officer, said the musicians look forward to the shows.

“We have a long history of doing cirque-style programs,” he said. “This is an all-new world premiere. Our musicians enjoy doing this and participating in what’s going on. A lot of them are memorizing parts of their parts so they can watch and see what’s happening.”

Gavre said it’s different for her troupe, too.

“We’re used to doing pop music concerts,” Gavre said. “It was a very different musical styling for us to wrap our heads around. Acrobatics are different than dance. The stamina level goes much quicker, but it’s really dynamic, playful, fun and whimsical.”

“A Cirque Nutcracker” is the perfect project for Gavre. A San Francisco native, she attended circus school there and was subsequently hired by the Pickle Family Circus in the early 1990s. From there, she moved to Montreal to work with Cirque du Soleil and has since relocated to Los Angeles.

“Circus is an extreme physical challenge with presence, beauty and performance,” she said. “This is much more harmonious. With circus, you need people who have different skillsets. It’s not so elitist in the quality of body size and type. We’re embracing the individual. It’s pretty powerful.”