the New York City Premiere of
Circo de la Luna
Baruch Performing Arts Center
April 20-22, 2016 at 7:30pm
Rockitaerials presents the New York City premiere of Circo de la Luna on April 20-22, 2016 at 7:30pm at the Rose Nagelburg Theater, Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue (entrance on 25th Street), New York, NY. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased at http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/calendar/ or by calling Ovationtix at 866-811-4111.
Circo de la Luna is a contemporary circus with a celestial theme that blends vivid Spanish and Latin culture with the magic of the galactic world above created by NYC-based aerialist Amanda Topaz in Partnership with Sonia Olla and Ismael Fernandez.
Circo de la Luna is a moonstruck circus journey that tells the story of a disgruntled New York City dweller who receives a mysterious package in the mail and is whisked away on a magical journey to Spain, Cuba, and beyond. Performed in front of a projected backdrop of lush architectural images created by photographers Thierry Dehove and Marc Goodwin, Circo de la Luna transports audiences with the hypnotic rhythm of an antique carousel slide projector, sharing the beauty of Spanish and Latin music and landscapes, inspiring us all to explore the beauty of other cultures – near or far.
Acts will include comedy by Mark Gindick (Big Apple Circus), Boleadoras by AJ Silver (Hungarian National Circus), Aerial Moon and Silk by Amanda Topaz (Rockitaerials), Aerial Hoop by Sarah Sophie Flicker (Citizen’s Band), Contortion by Anna Venizelos of the Venizelos Sisters and Olga Karmansky. The evening is choreographed by Sonia Olla, Pedro Ruiz, and Valeria Solomonoff, and directed by Mark Lonergan (Parallel Exit and Big Apple Circus).
About Circo de la Luna
Circo de la Luna is a cross-cultural circus charged with Flamenco and latin music, created by NYC aerialist Amanda Topaz in partnership with the Spanish flamenco dancer Sonia Olla. Originally created for a Latin Audience in Atlantic City, Circo de la Luna grew to include the salsa music of Celia Cruz and tango of Astor Piazzolla, making it a circus night for Latin Music lovers of three continents. The idea of Circo de la Luna is to introduce circus acts to traditional dance choreographers to create a thought-provoking circus for Spanish and Latin Music lovers and children of all ages. The name “Circo de la Luna” was born out of wanting to create the Spanish equivalent to the incomparable Cirque du Soleil. Circo de la Luna celebrates the love of foreign neighbors, culture, music and dance – especially Flamenco. For more information visit www.circodelaluna.com.
Ismael Fernandez (Flamenco Vocalist) Born in Seville, Spain, of Gypsy descent, Ismael Fernández grew up performing in flamenco festivals throughout the world with his internationally renowned family, “La Familia Fernández.” His professional career began in Spain’s premier flamenco tablaos such as “El Cordobes” (Barcelona), “La Carboneria” (Seville) and the famous flamenco cuevas, or caves, of Granada. In 2004, Ismael won the National Contest of Cordoba, singing bulerías for famed dancer Soraya Clavijo, and that same year he was a finalist in the Festival De Cante De La Union. Ismael also regularly participates with his family in the celebrated Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla.In 2004, Ismael won the National Competition for Cordoba singing bulerías. Soraya Clavijo. That same year he was a finalist in the Festival de Cante Union accompanying the dance and has participated several times in the Bienal de Flamenco show with his family. Throughout his expansive career, Ismael has worked with flamenco legends such as Antonio Canales, Farruquito, Marina Heredia and El Torombo, to name a few. Hailed by The Washington Post as the “most charismatic performer” and a “connection to the Gyspy source,” Ismael has made several radio and television appearances, most notably Tele5, Radio Nacional de España, Cadena Ser, Punto Radio, and Onda Cero. For several years, Ismael has been a featured company member of internationally acclaimed dancer Maria Pages.
Sarah Sophie Flicker (Lyra) is an activist, performer, aerialist, writer, filmaker, and Creative Director of the political cabaret troupe, The Citizens Band. She is the Editor-At-Large for Violet Book. Her writing can be found at Hello Giggles, Rookie Magazine, Refinery 29, The Cut, Cosmo.com, Violet Book, Stylist, Rizzoli’s publication “The Inspired Home,” and her own site, At Once, which focuses on the intersection of feminism and parenthood. Along with Lizz Winstead she helped found Lady Parts Justice – a reproductive rights and Get-Out-TheVote campaign using humor and media to expose anti-women legislation and otherwise inform on the local and federal level. Her award winning cinematography with co-director Maximilla Lukacs has been showcased around the globe. In 2012, along with Rebecca Parks Fernandez and Tennessee Thomas, they co-founded The Department Of Peace– a production company geared toward creating consciousness, raising content, and inspiring political action. Their work includes the “You Don’t Own Me” and ” Bad Reputation” Get Out The Vote PSA’S. She is currently collaborating with Art Not War and EMILY’s List on a Paid Family Leave PSA. Sarah Sophie currently resides in New York: a mother of three children and married to director Jesse Peretz.
Born and raised in New York, Mark Gindick (Clown) is a professional actor, clown, physical comedian, director, teacher, and creator of his own theatrical shows. Wing-Man–his original theatrical piece without one spoken word–won BEST ONE-MAN SHOW in United Solo Theatre Festival, the largest solo festival of its kind in the world. Mark has appeared in major feature films, including the Nora Ephron comedy Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep. On television, he has been featured onThe Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and in The PBS miniseries CIRCUS. He has starred Off-Broadway and at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival in the New York Times acclaimed hit The Comedy Trio Happy Hour, Happyhourclowns.com; and has clowned in such circuses as The Ringling Brothers and the The Big Apple Circus. He has also taught clowning at SUNY Purchase College as well as other New York City venues. Mark wrote and starred in How To Be A Man at the Palace of Variety on 42nd Street (NYC). His unique blend of vaudeville, dance, and physical comedy has earned him three Golden Nose Awards.
Angelo Iodice (Argentine Boleadoras) You would probably assume that trick roper AJ Silver/Angelo Iodice grew up on a ranch out west. Well you’d be wrong! He was born and raised in The Bronx, New York where he learned his riding and roping skills. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! As a child, Angelo was fascinated by the Cowboy and tales of the Wild West. He saw his first rodeo at Madison Square Garden. The skill, speed and danger of the trick riding exhibition blew his mind, and at eleven years old he found his calling: He would be a rodeo trick rider! As fate would have it, he met the professional rodeo couple Nick and Helen Panzella (also Bronx natives). Helen, one of the nation’s top trick riders, was so impressed with Angelo’s determination to learn that she agreed to mentor him. Nick, a blacksmith and rodeo competitor, taught Angelo trick roping and prepared him for life on the rodeo trail. Every day after school, while his friends were playing stick ball, Angelo was practicing the cowboy arts with the Panzellas. Out of respect for his Italian immigrant Grandparents, he put his rodeo career on hold to attend Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, but even there he found horses. After graduation he was honored as the Act of the Year by the International Rodeo Association at The Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma and was accepted as a member into the Professional Rodeo Cowboy’s Association. He eventually decided to take a break from trick riding and horses and truned his career focus on creating a western variety act combining trick roping, bullwhip artistry and boleadoras. Under the stage name AJ Silver he currently performs his unique high energy acts in a variety of entertainment venues around the world.
Olga Karmansky (Contortion and Aerial Astronaut) most recently starred as “Iris” in The Tempest at The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sam Waterston. Performance highlights include the original cast of the revival of the Broadway smash hit Pippin (dir. Diane Paulus of Hair, Porgy & Bess & chor. Gypsy Snider of 7 doigts’ Traces), the Panic at the Disco Tour (MTV Music Video of the Year), Gymnastics Superstars Tour (USA Post-Olympic Gymnastics Tour), and the Venice Biennale International Art Festival (Venice, Italy). Olga is a US Champion and two-time Pan American Champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics. Official Olympic Alternate Athens, Greece.
Mark Lonergan (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Parallel Exit, a three-time Drama Desk Award nominee for Unique Theatrical Experience. As a director for the past 20 years, he has overseen numerous plays, musicals, variety shows, and dance productions, including Everybody Gets Cake, Room 17B, Cut to The Chase, and This Way That Way (all at 59E59 Theaters); Time Step (The New Victory Theater); Exit Stage Left (Lincoln Center); I Love Bob and Powerhouse (Joyce SoHo); and Velocity (Guggenheim Museum). Mark’s work has toured throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, at festivals such as the Festival of Dreams in Austria, the COS Festival in Spain, the We Love Dance Festival in Japan, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the United States, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland (Awarded: Spirit of the Fringe). Mark is the Guest Director of the 2015-16 Big Apple Circus production The Grand Tour. He also leads workshops and master classes in acting and physical theatre for a number of colleges throughout the country. You can learn more about Mark and Parallel Exit by visiting www.parallelexit.com.
Born in Barcelona, Sonia Olla (Flamenco Dance)is a well-known flamenco dancer. She trained in Condal at the Instituto de Teatro y Danza where she specialized in Flamenco dance. After training with high caliber flamenco artists and teachers such as Merche Esmeralda, Manolo Marin, Mariquilla, and Antonio Canales, she began her professional career in the Rafael Amargo Company followed by other artistic collaborations–notably with Domingo Ortega, Aida Gomez, Nuevo Ballet Espanol, Eva la Hierbabena, Rafaela Carrasco, and Maria Pages. Recently Sonia choreographed the number “la isla bonita” for Madonna’s tour and was seen in Madonna’s latest documentary.
Pedro Ruiz (Choreographer) is a renowned choreographer and dancer who was born and trained (Raised??) in Cuba, as well as in Venezuela. He and his family arrived in the United States in 1984, and he became a U.S. citizen ten years later. He was a principal dancer at Ballet Hispanico for 21 years, where he also choreographed three critically acclaimed ballets for the company. Ruiz has also choreographed works for The Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Chicago’s Luna Negra Dance Theater. Ruiz has performed at the White House for two presidents (why doesn’t he say which two?). His dances have been called “a silky, sexy joy” by the New York Times, “especially fine work of form and structure” by the New York Post, and “timeless” by Time Out magazine. He was recently featured in the documentary “Coming Home” on channel 13. For information on Pedro’s future cultural exchange projects in Cuba, go to www.thewindowsproject.org.
Amanda Topaz (Aerialist: Tissú and Moon/Creative Director) is a New York City Aerial artist who has created and performed aerial pieces and installations for celebrations around the globe. Starting on the ground with Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, and Ornette Coleman in “? Civiliazation” at Lincoln Center, Amanda evolved to Bungee performance for the Turkish Pop-Star, Tarkan in Baku Azerbaijan. Amanda works closely with companies and curators who come to her for unique aerial performances. In 2005, Amanda lost 75% of her hearing in both ears and was forced to have surgery to recover it. Through extensive training and perseverance she was able to overcome the vertigo that followed to acquire new directional skills and equilibrium in the air. Recent collaborations include the fashion film Fundipendulous for VPL, Equilibrium with choreographer Benoit Swan Pouffer, Citizen’s Band, two years of The Genius Gala at the Liberty Science Center — a cube act to honor Erno Rubik, and a crescent moon number to honor Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Buzz Aldrin — a duet with opera singer Denyce Graves for the Susan G. Komen Foundation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, creation of an aerial installation for Cedar Lake Dance, and working with sculptor Marianne Vitale to create an aerial component to fill vertical space in an installation for Performa, NYC. She draws inspiration from learning about the people for whom she creates, and especially the beauty of the ceilings where she hangs. Amanda holds a BFA from The New School for Social Research Jazz and Contemporary Music Program.
Anna Venizelos (Contortion/Aerial Astronaut) has returned to New York City following a three-year contract with Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam. During the Asia/Pacific tour in 2004, she participated in the aerial hoops act as part of a women’s trio. In 2006 during the North America/Canada Tour, Anna took on the featured solo, contortion in silks. Anna has also performed with Montreal based circus companies, Les Gens d’R and Cirque Eloize. Before taking on her aerial career, Anna attended NYU’s School of Education as a Dance Major in addition to spending a year studying theater at Emerson College.