Why This Matters: The Nouveau Sud Project is using cirque-arts to respond to challenges the Charlotte community has faced over the past year.
By Bernie Petit
A social circus featuring acrobatic and physical feats hopes to springboard conversations about deep-seated community issues in Charlotte.
“Sûr: An Acrobatic Journey in the Search of Safety,” a new production by The Nouveau Sud Project, runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 at Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center (130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte). General admission tickets are $10.
The cirque-style performance, which incorporates artistic elements found within Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s underground dance and theater scenes, is an attempt to answer what, on the surface, seems to be a simple question:
What constitutes being or feeling safe?
In Charlotte, that question is complicated by events over the past year that have made some residents fearful, such as a deadly police-involved shooting that led to unrest in the city and local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdowns, said Nouveau Sud Project founder CarlosAlexis Cruz.
“People are not feeling safe anymore or comfortable,” Cruz said. “A lot has happened.”
“Sûr” is The Nouveau Sud Project’s way of responding to that discomfort in a way that helps people find common ground.
“We in Western culture understand many of the same physical gestures,” Cruz said. “That aspect of physical theater allows art to say more with less. There’s tough stuff in it but it’s still a circus show.”
That means audiences will witness area performers overcoming physical obstacles in unique ways, Cruz said. It should be a uniting experience for performers and audience members alike.
“People celebrate human nature because they are seeing people do things that they cannot do,” he said. “That allows them to jump into this journey with us. That allows us to have this conversation.”
“Sûr: An Acrobatic Journey in the Search of Safety” is supported in part by funding Cruz received as the recipient of the 2014 ASC McColl Award.