With hilarious mask comedy and volatile street theater, the Acrobuffos, comprised of husband and wife team Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, have tickled and tantalized audiences all over the world. Whether on the stage or in the street, playing with masks or their own flexible faces, this award-winning company creates theater that can play anywhere, in any country, and guarantees serious comedy in any language.
Ambush Theater presents a mobilized posse of shrubbery with a mind of its own. Part puppetry, part topiary, and part clown, Ambush mixes the overlooked world of shrubbery with the suspense and drama of a low-budget thriller. Through carefully choreographed bouts of chaos Ambush creates an engaging and amusingly unpredictable kinetic landscape.
Magician Karen Beriss's dry wit and sense of humor is brought to life through her jaw-dropping magic. Co-producer of Clown Cabaret, the only regularly occurring clown production in Washington, D.C., Karen's improv training with Second City and her ability to communicate and entertain leads to guaranteed laughter, amazement, and fun for all audiences.
Bert the Nerd
Bert the Nerd, a character created by the talented Rich Potter, blends hard-hitting comedy with audience participation and refreshing spontaneity. Bert the Nerd has brought his skills and wacky brand of humor to more than 25 different countries, providing thrilling entertainment featuring improvisation, unicycling, juggling, and more.
Bread and Puppet Theater
The Bread and Puppet Theater, founded in 1962 in New York City by Peter Schumann and currently based in Vermont, is a politically radical puppet theater company. The company derives its name from its practice of sharing fresh bread with the audience of each performance as a means of creating community, and from its central principle that art should be as basic to life as bread.
Contortionist Jonathan Burns uses his flexibility, curiosity, and goofiness to entertain audiences around the world. Through his skills in juggling, stand-up comedy, contortionism, and sideshow stunts, Burns creates a live entertainment experience unlike any other. Originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Burns's talents have taken him to stages across the United States and to festivals and events around the globe.
Nick Cave is an American "trans-artist" working between sculpture, installation, performance, video, designed-objects, and fashion. His work is shown nationally and internationally and is used as an impetus for outreach in the community at large. Cave is best known for his Soundsuits: wearable fabric sculptures that are other-worldly and made of materials as diverse as twigs, dyed human hair, sisal, plastic buttons, beads, sequins, and feathers. His suits are presented for public viewing as static sculptures, but also through live performance, video, and photographs. Trained as a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cave resides in Chicago where he is director of the graduate fashion program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Circo Para Todos
Colombia's Circo Para Todos is one of the world's most exciting youth circus troupes. These exuberant young artists marry volcanic energy with a contemporary urban aesthetic to produce a flamboyant display of awe-inspiring acrobatics and dance that is gritty, modern, and full of attitude. Circo Para Todos performs in Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America under the auspices of the Embassy of Columbia.
Dance Exchange breaks boundaries between stage and audience, theater and community, movement and language, and tradition and the unexplored. Founded in 1976 by Liz Lerman and now under the artistic direction of Cassie Meador, Dance Exchange stretches the expressive range of contemporary dance through explosive dancing, personal stories, humor, and a company of performers whose ages span six decades. The work consists of formal concerts, interactive performances, specialized community residencies, and professional training in the art of community-based dance. An artist-driven organization, Dance Exchange employs a collaborative approach to dance making, administration, and implementation. Representing the multiple artistic voices of Dance Exchange, recent and current choreographic projects include explorations of coal mining, genetic research, radical prayer, human rights, particle physics, geology, and rest in a hyper-driven society.
Entomo is a dance piece by Elías Aguirre and Álvaro Esteban where insects and humans come together. Through a magnifying glass we can observe the relationship between two small creatures. Maybe humans, maybe insects, this piece is a duet where contemporary and urban dance techniques mix to create animal and insect movement. Entomo performs in Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America under the auspices of the Embassy of Spain.
Local artist, children's book author, and creator of Exit Studio, Edwin Fontánez is the founder of the Washington Chalk Festival, a popular and interactive event founded in 1993, which features local artists. During the festival, all visitors are free to take up a piece of chalk and create their own masterpiece. Fontánez's books include I Promise You: An Introduction to Living the Animal-Human Bond, On This Beautiful Island, The Vejigante and the Folk Festivals of Puerto Rico, Hadas, Sirenas y Sapos, and others.
American juggler Paolo Garbanzo has performed for crowds all over the U.S. and Europe. He has been a member The Flying Karamazov Brothers and received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Juggling Association. His performances use comedy, audience participation, and daring feats, such as juggling flaming torches, to entertain and astound his audiences.
Yaron Goshen is a medical clown, actor and creator. A graduate of the School of Visual Theatre, Jerusalem, he completed the B.A. program at Haifa University in a unique program for Medical Clowns. He has been studying, appearing, and acting in storytelling theatre, street theatre, circus and audience-interactive performances.
Mr. Goshen has studied and appeared with many groups, including Arma Theatre, Ein Hod; Dudi Ma'ayan's Shlomi Center for Work and Creativity; Hamishte (The Feast)-Biblical/Current events Theatre; the circus at Binyamina and at Yaqum; and more, and has performed at numerous festivals in Israel and abroad. He has worked as a storyteller at the Alyn Pediatric and Adolescent Rehabilitation Hospital, Jerusalem, with injured and paralyzed children and has facilitated clowning workshops, storytelling theatre, and acting workshops.
Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars
Established 20 years ago, the Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars is an experienced jump rope team that inspires kids to fitness. The team name is an acronym for Sensational, Inspiring, Talented, Youth, and the team's goal is to offer a quality jump rope program that not only develops technical jumping skills but promotes fitness and teamwork, develops confidence and leadership skills, and encourages good sportsmanship while helping to promote the sport of jump rope.
Happenstance Theater is a professional company committed to devising and producing original, performer-created visual, poetic theater. The theater's performances often include musical elements, slapstick comedy, mime, and elements of cabaret.
Local artist Moira Lee specializes in a wide range of variety arts including aerial skills, trapeze, stilt walking, dancing, living statue, juggling, balancing acts, and comedy variety shows. Her acrobatics and circus skills entertain audiences all over the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas.
Lesole's Dance Project
Lesole's Dance Project is a Maryland-based dance company that creates and performs works that highlight the unique qualities of contemporary modern and Afro-Fusion dance. The company also provides educational residency programs on the movement and history of popular Traditional South African dances such as Gumboots, Indlamu, and Panstula.
The Midnight Circus
The Midnight Circus is an eclectic company of actors and acrobats, aerialists and eccentrics, clowns and contortionists, singers, dancers, musicians, and a lone dog who are committed to breaking down the barriers that separate individual art forms. The result is a unique combination of talents that creates a new and original style of live performance.
Emily Schubert presents multiple characters in one with Mouth Monster, her original creation that uses a costume covered in colorful mouths, each expressing a different personality. Ms. Schubert is a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art studying fiber arts and art education. She is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and her interests include storytelling, costuming, puppetry, theater, and community arts.
Chicago-based Mucca Pazza is "an astounding circus-punk marching band," which features slide trombones, marching drums, accordions, and other romantic icons wielded by musicians with the purpose of making music, instigating spontaneous dancing, and horn honking.
Mutts Gone Nuts
Rescued canines are the stars in Mutts Gone Nuts, a comedy variety dog act by the hilarious husband-and-wife comedy team Jessie and James (Scott and Joan Houghton). This popular-from-coast-to-coast comedy show features hilarious stunts and amazing tricks that showcase the talents of these delightful dogs.
Baltimore-based Nana Projects is a company of visual alchemists inventing innovative artwork that draws people together in public spaces, strengthening their sense of community identity through shared cultural experience. The company specializes in original "cultural performances" including paper lantern parades and overhead projector shadow puppetry (a/k/a Magic Lantern Shows).
National Children's Museum
Founded in 1974 as the Capital Children's Museum, and designated by Congress in 2003 as a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution serving children and families, the National Children's Museum is the only national museum dedicated entirely to children and their families and caregivers. NCM seeks to be a world-class cultural and educational center dedicated to engaging children and empowering them to make a difference. The mission of NCM is to inspire children to care about and improve the world.
Matt Pauli is skilled in the fields of acting, clowning, puppetry, vaudeville, and more. During Look Both Ways, Mr. Pauli will present his Charlie Chaplin vaudeville character, based on Chaplin's popular, silent little tramp, who has become a classic character in the world of entertainment.
Valeska Maria Populoh
Valeska Maria Populoh is a performer, artist, and teacher living in Baltimore who has worked in collaboration with a variety of community arts organizations and performance groups including Arts Every Day, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, Kids on the Hill, Art on Purpose, Fluid Movement, and Nana Projects, as an associate artist and workshop facilitator. In 2004, she established her own troupe, The Cause Company, that uses costuming, puppetry, and stilting for street performances, parades, and events.
San Francisco-based Project Bandaloop is a modern dance company that reframes how people perceive their environment and the art form. Project Bandaloop performs in natural and urban settings, in theaters, on buildings, towers, bridges, and skyscrapers, and even creates site-specific work in the mountains.
The Red Trouser Show
The Red Trouser Show is a high-energy acrobatic, juggling, and comedy duo comprised of performers David Graham and Tobin Renwick. The team has been performing in circuses and theaters and busking all over the U.S. and internationally since 2000. Their awe-inspiring show is fun-filled and appropriate for all ages.
For 20 years, Michael Rosman has been providing comedy juggling shows for all ages at all types and sizes of events. Using an eclectic mix of original comedy, breathtaking skills, and chaotic klutziness, Rosman performs feats involving knives, bull whips, unicycles, and audience participation to continuously surprise and astound his audiences into fits of laughter.
Natalia Paruz, affectionately known as the "Saw Lady," has spent more than a decade bringing the rare art form of playing music on a carpenter's saw (known as the "musical saw" or "singing saw") to audiences around the world. By bringing the music of the musical saw directly to people on the street or in the subway she brings the art form to people who might not otherwise be able to encounter it.
Professional actor and performer Stephon Walker presents his character Swami Yomahmi, the Original Sideshow Geek, who combines his physically awkward comedic talents with potentially dangerous self-inflicted acts that will leave audiences scratching their heads and clutching their sides with laughter.
Sweet Heaven Kings
The Sweet Heaven Kings is the premier brass band at the United House of Prayer in Anacostia. The gospel brass band tradition is unique to this denomination, and was first introduced into services by charismatic church founder Bishop Charles M. "Sweet Daddy" Grace. The band is comprised of 16 musicians, including two of Miller's sons, one of whom now leads the band, which is known for its lead players' improvisation and musical intensity.
Whether he's changing his clothes, setting the table, or just sitting down, Rob Torres has a unique way of finding the absurdity in everyday tasks. Rob has masterfully blended his formal training in theater, circus arts, and pantomime together to create genuinely fun and memorable acts. From the moment he walks on stage or into the ring, Rob steps into the hearts of his audience and keeps them laughing long after he is gone.
Yamomanem is a D.C.-based band with repertoire rooted in the old New Orleans music and the hot jazz styles of the 1920s and 1930s. With a Caribbean creole influence and a mix of electric guitars, funky congas, and the secondline beats of the street, the group has an unconventional vibe that falls outside the labels of standard brass or Dixieland bands.
Yo-Yo People, a group comprised of husband-and-wife duo John Higby and Rebecca Loomis Higby, brings back this nostalgic toy, reminding its audience of classic favorites such as "Walk the Dog" and "Rock the Baby," while introducing new and bizarre tricks. Yo-yos attached to bouncy balls, yo-yos with 10-foot strings, and multiple yo-yos looping while hula hooping and unicycling are just some of this duo's finely tuned feats. High skill and deft timing to swinging music coupled with high energy and sarcastic humor make the Yo-Yo People a favorite for every age.
Evan Young brings audiences an exciting and engaging show that everyone is sure to enjoy. Through extensive travel and training with a number of highly regarded circus instructors, Evan has honed his many talents. Outfitted with a distinctive mix of quick wit, youthful energy, and stunning juggling skills, Evan keeps audiences laughing, amused, and amazed!
Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America is made possible through the generosity of
the Charles E. Smith Family Foundation.
This program is part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, generously funded by
David and Alice Rubenstein.
Additional support is provided by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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