The Circus, All Grown Up

A modern, but just as thrilling, take on the circus at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Photo by Mats Backer

Circus performances have clearly come a long way from the dinky, lo-fi, and rancid-smelling days of yore. The mistreated animals are thankfully gone, as are the big-shoed, red-nosed clowns. These days, circuses are high-class experiences, each a hot ticket—and they’re arriving by the bounty in New York. Some recent productions have looked to history for inspiration, including Circus 1903, at Madison Square Garden, which was packed with two hours of classic thrills. Some take a step on the wild side, as did St. Ann’s Warehouse’s otherworldly, hypermodern Bianco. Sweden’s Cirkus Cirkör, however, is a circus act that gets a little political. It’s perfect for those seeking to add some thought to their fun.

Photo by Mats Backer

Cirkus Cirkör’s four-performance run, Wednesday, June 7, through Saturday, June 10, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), is titled Limits, and it sets out to “challenge both the limits of the human body and the body politic.” Acrobats fly through gorgeous land-, sea-, and cityscapes, connecting and holding each other up across borders (the creators say the show was influenced in part by the formation of Brexit). The two-and-a-half-hour event will be full of mind-boggling feats of athleticism, happening on and off the stage. All of this is set to a live score, unusual for circus-inspired acts. It’s certain to be enthralling.

Why You Should Go: Use this production as your entry point for modern circus experiences. Limits promises to be as much a social critique as it is a showstopping spectacle.

Cirkus Cirkör: Limits
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Howard Gilman Opera House
30 Lafayette Avenue, Boerum Hill
Wednesday, June 7–Saturday, June 10
7:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $30

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