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Too stoked for TU Processed

Artists seek to spark a new kind of circus arts in Halifax.

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TU Processed
December 9-10, 8pm
The Halifax Music Co-op 2164 Barrington Street
$15/$20

TU Processed—a contemporary circus piece by performers Dawn Shepherd, Ryan Gray, and Aiyana Graham—strays from classic circus mainstays, so don't expect animals, ring leaders, clowns and big-top tents. Shepherd describes contemporary circus in contrast to other forms of circus arts by its integration of acrobatics, dance and music around a theme. Shepherd says this project features a kind of circus style not found elsewhere here.

Emphasis is put on the importance of integrating different forms of performance and storytelling. Shepherd compares the art to the distinction between classical and contemporary dance. 

TU Processed is made up of three performance pieces, one by each artist. The pieces are connected by similar themes of racial identity, the descent into madness and mental illness. Promotional material includes parental advisory for young viewers due to this, along with some strong language. 

"It's kinda been an interesting process—there are three artists performing in the show and initially it was going to be two pieces created individually by the artists, but we did want to create a semblance of a narrative, so there is a narrative that everyone is adhering to, and a thematic element," says Shepherd. "Duality is actually the theme, duality of life experiences. Each artist has created pieces around that that are very personal to them so they're very different but there is a loose narrative that it follows."

Shepherd, Gray and Graham are all artists part of Atlantic Cirque. In addition to being a circus artist who studied the Instructor Course at the National Circus School of Montreal, Gray brings musical talent to the mix, doubling as a percussionist. Graham has a background in silks and duo trapeze, while Shepherd has years of experience as a teacher with the National Circus School of MontrĂ©al, preparing young circus artists to be able to work with professional troupes such as Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Éloize.  They hope to inspire new circus artists to pursue the craft in Nova Scotia.

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