Circolombia at Underbelly Festival
Entertainment company Underbelly returns once more, showcasing some of the best fringe and festival shows in the UK. Tonight’s performance is staged by Circolombia, a troupe of trapeze artists and acrobats who achieve breathtaking feats choreographed by world-renowned director Carlos Neto.
Split into sections, each part of the routine displays the distinct bravery and finesse of these agile performers. The sold-out show has a buzzing atmosphere even before it begins, with Colombian music playing in the background, accompanied by singers Diana Montoya and Lianna-Juliana Velasquez. Teasing the senses, the spectacle keeps the audience on the edge of their seat due to the incredibly intimate space – where thick ropes intertwine and unravel around the ensemble, coming to a few near-misses. As a member jumps onto a mattress in the pitch-black darkness, it is hard not to imagine something has gone awry, but the entertainers are extremely skilled, timing everything flawlessly. As aerial artist Cristian Rincoin wraps the harness around his eyes – temporarily blinding himself – he hauls his partner backwards, his head seeming to hold both their weights; at another point, they both grit the harness with their teeth, his partner initiating the lifting. These are only some of the incredible risks these entertainers put themselves through to produce an astonishing show for their viewers.
The troupe achieves nerve-shredding jumps and somersaults in mid-air during the Banquine, Neto’s choreography continuously imaginative. Julia Sanchez’s cloud swing is swayed to dizzying heights, coming precariously close to the rigging – though she knows full well when the apparatus strays too far. Undeniably, one of the highlights of the show is when acrobat Francisco Hurtado balances a large circular perch on his forehead, with Sandra Ramirez poised on it, gently turning upside down and manoeuvring her body carefully, all the while remaining balanced.
Circolombia presents some of the best trapeze, acrobatic and gymnastic talent in the country, giving us a little slice of Colombian circus art that we wouldn’t normally see. The joy on the ensemble’s faces is clear, coupled with rapt concentration and passion, leaving you breathless. With adrenaline-pumping sequences, taking risks at every possible point, the collective showed just how much the body is capable of when pushed to its limits, going above and beyond viewers’ expectations.
Photo: Roberto Riccuiti/ Getty Images
Circolombia is at Underbelly Festival Southbank from 24th May until 14th July 2018. For further information or to book visit the festival’s website here.
Watch a preview of Circolombia here: