Melbourne festival runs away with the circus in 2014 programme

International circus groups take center stage in an event lineup that hopes to be awe-inspiring, according to director Josephine Ridge.

The varying delights of circus entertainment will be the main theme of this year’s 29th Melbourne Festival and will be supported by an assortment of musical and theatrical shows.

Performers from the circus world of Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America will be featured in the 17-day festival. The groups comprise Cirque Eloize Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Circa, D’Irque & Fien, and Circa Oz.

Josephine Ridge, Melbourne festival director, has told Guardian Australia that the amount of circus shows is likely to “surprise some people.”

“It’s not necessarily expected that an international arts festival will concentrate on circus,” she explained. “But it’s a crucial part of the culture landscape in Melbourne. It has a long history here as well as NICA” National Institute of Circus Arts as well as Circus Oz, and we are able to do it with the same level of excellence that nobody could.

Ridge said: “Circus is in its moment, I believe. Many artists are utilizing the skills of circus performers, people from music and theatre. This is only the second festival held in Australia to really take a look at the art form.”

In addition to dazzling acrobats as well, the festival will include a variety of genre-bending shows, including The Mountain Changed Its Clothes. The epic piece, conceived by Heiner Goebbels, consists of 40 teenage Slovenian girls in a dramatic work that straddles the realm of music.

The Trisha Brown dance troupe will perform the retrospective of its eponymous founder’s work. Music programs comprise DJ Heff Mills, the Irish-American band The Gloaming, and guitarist Pat Matheny.

Although, internationally, the Ridge program aims to highlight and further develop the diversity of Melbourne’s art scene. “We don’t want it all to be over in 17 days,” Ridge said. “We are looking to offer an opportunity for professionals and students, as well as local and international ones so that they can take lessons from one another.

“By their nature, festivals need to evolve to remain current and relevant. I’m eager to reflect on the past of the city, but as well to look to the future of the city.”

Melbourne event is from 10 to 26 October in 30 venues in the city. The tickets go on sale on 1 August.

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