“Spin Out,” a new show from the aerial troupe Gravityworks
By Tiffany Green
There was a time when Gravityworks was one of San Miguel’s best-kept secrets. Wedding planners and private event coordinators were likely to know how to get in touch with them. But unless you had the good fortune to be on the guest list for one of those private shows, chances were good that you had heard of the intrepid little circus troupe as an unconfirmed rumor at best. That all changed in 2008, when Nisha Ferguson, the troupe’s founder, decided it was time to go public. For four nights in the spring of that year, audiences at the Teatro Ángela Peralta were thrilled by the spectacular aerial and ground routines in the show “Animas”—and the secret was out. Since then Gravityworks has maintained a steady schedule of high-profile public performances, among them the Feria Regional de San Luis de la Paz in front of an audience of 12,000 and the opening night of last year’s International Cervantino Festival with standing room only in San Miguel’s Jardín. So now, on the eve of their eagerly anticipated third big show, “Spin Out” (which comes three years after their unforgettable “Fenomenon,” also in the Ángela Peralta), we realize that no introduction is needed; San Miguel knows and loves these dazzling performances already. We spoke with Nisha Ferguson, founder and leader of the 10-member troupe, to get a little insight into what the audience can expect to see this time.
Aerial Dance Performance Gravityworks
Fri, Mar 22 & Sat, Mar 23, 8pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
Hernández Macías at Mesones
Tickets at the box office, 200, 100 and 50 pesos
Tiffany Green: Will people who saw your previous two theater shows, “Animas” and “Fenomenon,” be surprised by your new show, “Spin Out”? What sort of differences, or what kind of evolution, might they see?
Nisha Ferguson: I don’t think anyone familiar with Gravityworks is ever surprised by anything we do, because we are always pushing ourselves to grow, so there is always something new and exciting to see. In “Spin Out,” they’re going to see four of us at the same time doing a whole new kind of synchronized routine on a huge triple trapeze. We’re so excited about this; it really represents an evolution for the troupe. At the time of our first and second shows, we didn’t have a training facility that gave us space to hang such a gigantic piece of equipment—or four people well-matched enough and strong enough to pull off such an endeavor. We have the strongest performance troupe ever, which means more group acts in the air than ever before. Another new and fresh thing about this show will be the music and costumes. “Spin Out” has a ’60s theme, so the look is super fun and flashy … groovy … and for the first time we are using more mainstream music of the era, so it’s not the total circus style of dress and music people might expect from us.
T.G.: A ’60s theme and music—that certainly is a departure from your usual circus style! What inspired you to focus on that era?
N.F: As a teenager in the 1980s I was hooked on 60s music. I never really thought about how atypical that might be. My dad was a beatnik and my mother was a ballerina—and when you mix a beatnik with a ballerina you get hippies. So my sisters and I were sort of … second-generation hippies. Plus, we lived in Woodstock. So that era is in my blood. This show means more to me than any previous show because it feels like I’m coming home.
T.G.: So, is the show geared toward a target audience—perhaps one of that specific generation?
N.F: Not at all! The music is so appealing and the themes are as relevant today as they ever were, so everyone in the audience is going to find some kind of connection to it, even if it isn’t straightforward nostalgia for them. We have workshopped a few of this show’s routines publicly over the past couple of years, and the reaction is always the same: People of all ages say they love the music and they love how drawn into the spirit of the performance they feel. That’s really what it’s all about, for this show or any show: making people feel alive and full of joy.