‘Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes’ (maybe yours?) premieres in Bella Vista

Balancing acts for Almanac. Photo by Jenna Spitz.

Who needs fast food and normal people? Not Almanac. No, not the old-timey weather forecast. Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, with its co-artistic directors, Fishtown residents Ben Grinberg and Nick Gillette, is tearing up the regional dance/circus/theater/what-do-you-call-it-it’s-cool scene since Grinberg and Gillette graduated from the inaugural class of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (now merging into a master’s program with UArts).

Almanac’s new show, Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, also features South Philly’s Adam Kerbel (an actor and dancer alum of Headlong Performance Institute). Nicole Burgio of West Philly, an internationally performing acrobat, rounds out the troupe. According to the group, the performance is “an absurd and contemplative tapestry of sublime human idiocy, isolationist seafarer cults, and the kind of people that devote their lives to becoming acrobats.” (Before founding Almanac, Gillette was a coworker of yours truly at America’s Most Historic Prison; he also taught an advanced improv class taken by our editor in chief.)

This quartet of hybrid performance artists develops pieces with long months of unfettered yet painstaking improvisation and collaboration, molding their stories and choreography from play to performance.  

This time, the group’s trademark symbiotic, gravity-defying contortions will be accompanied by original music written and performed by Patrick Lamborn and the offbeat yet oddly apt words of Mt. Airy playwright Josh McIlvain. The acrobats are “alone in a world of weirdos,” purify themselves with their own rituals, and turn the sofa into a “portal for exploration” where, you guessed it, regular folks and McDonald’s need not apply.

If you haven’t seen Almanac’s breathless brand of movement performance, this is a great chance.

Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes is coming to the Sanctuary Space at Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catherine Street, Philadelphia, on June 25 and 26 at 8pm; June 27 at 2pm and 8pm, and June 28 at 2pm and 5pm (there’ll also be a special preview performance at a discounted price on Wednesday, June 24). Tickets ($25; $12 for students and artists) are available in advance online or at the door. 

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