Zingari: A Culture of Cirque

Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Review of Lone Star Circus’ Zingari

An intimate theater setting, performances that defy gravity and artistry that captivates the imagination – that’s what Lone Star Circus brings to DFW locals with its annual holiday cirque productions. My family and I saw Zingari opening weekend and had a great time.

Paying homage to the Gypsy roots of many circus families, including Lone Star Circus founder and creative director Fanny Kerwich, Zingari brings to the stage an amazing cast of international and local circus artists. An eighth generation circus performer, Kerwich is passionate about sharing the magic of the circus arts and has helped grow Lone Star Circus into a much anticipated attraction with a loyal following that grows each year.

Zingari is packed with talented performers like Asaf Mor who skillfully maneuvers the Cyr Wheel. Mor shares his talent and experience with aspiring circus hopefuls as a coach at the Lone Star Circus School. Stephanie Stewart, who also teaches at the circus school, did a tremendous job on the Corde Lisse. We missed having this act performed at the center of the theater which makes it seem like it’s right on top of the audience; it was moved off to the side of the stage.

Asaf More - Cyr Wheel - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Hailing from Mongolia, contortionist Zaya Tserendorg enthralled the audience as she twisted and bent her body into unbelievable poses. Usually, I find myself cringing during contortion acts, but Zaya’s performance is beautiful and graceful – truly something to behold. Later, as she took flight on the aerial straps supported by her partner Mendee, Tserendorg again showed grace and fluidity in her movements.

Contortionist - Zaya - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea  Contortionist - Zaya - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Aeriel Strap - Zaya & Mendee - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Back this year to perform in Zingari, Rejean St. Jules, the Anton Brothers and Kirill Rebkovets displayed great skill, agility and strength in their routines. Rejean was joined this year by his son Sebastian. They mesmerized us with their flawless synchronized juggling, particularly when playing music on giant keyboards. I was very surprised to find out that Sebastian has only been performing professionally for about a year and a half. He did a remarkable job keeping up with his Dad. Although the Anton Brothers experienced a couple of mishaps during their Risley Act, their 21 flip finale more than made up for it. Kirill Rebkovets, who is self-trained on the Rolla Bolla, kept the audience riveted as he teetered precariously then successfully balanced on a stack of cylinders, some of which were in constant motion.  Every time he added more cylinders, the audience waited with bated breath that was released as a collective sigh of relief once Rebkovets completed each daring feat.

Juggler - Rejean St. Jules - Sebastian St. Jules - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Risley Act - Anton Brothers - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea  

As tradition holds, Lone Star Circus incorporates four-legged performers into the show as well. This year featured a group of cats who performed incredible stunts under the supervision of their trainer Mayya Panfilova. As a cat person, I was quite impressed with these talented felines and what they had learned to do.

Cat Act - Mayya Panfilova - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Jesse Patterson’s performance was alluring and sensual, and showed how much this young circus artist has matured with her hula hoop technique. Patterson upped the number of hoops in her finale to 50 this year, but it was the stunning creativity of her routine that stole the show. Her gift is not only in coordinating an aesthetically pleasing routine, but in making it seem effortless keeping the hoops in constant motion.

Hula Hoops - Jesse Patterson - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea Hula Hoops - Jesse Patterson - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Hula Hoops - Jesse Patterson - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea   Hula Hoops - Jesse Patterson - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

New to Lone Star Circus, Nina Chubrikova and Yury Kuznetsov (“Duo Resonance”) performed a hand balancing act on the stage floor which was quite powerful and graceful, but the positioning of their routine at the foot of the stage made it difficult for me at times to see the full scope of their performance without some obstruction. Nina also opened the show with a lovely aerial hoop routine to energetic and lively music.

Hand Balancing - Duo Resonance - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

A Lone Star Circus show would not be the same without clown duo Slappy and Monday. These two bring so much fun and entertainment to the show with their performance parodies and physical comedy.Clowns - Slappy & Monday - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

Clowning around with Slappy and Monday were Zerp the clown, Fanny Kerwich and her brother Jean-Marie. Thiago Nascimento on the piano added a genuine circus feel to the clown skits.

Slappy & Monday, Fanny Kerwich, Clowns - Lone Star Circus - Zingari - Mina Frannea

There weren’t a lot of negatives with this production. There was a slight sense of disorganization during introductions because multiple hosts tended to talk over one another. A single emcee as in the past would have likely added better transition and a bit more cohesiveness to the narration of the show. Speaking of narration, I would have liked to have seen a more robust introduction of the story behind the tribute to the Gypsy culture and how it’s tied to Zingari. Further, although Kerwich and company put together the show in deference to the Gypsy heritage, there didn’t seem to be a lot of that culture incorporated into the production other than the set built to replicate the trailer that Kerwich lived in with her family during her youth and a few costumes that might be considered gypsy-like. We expected vivacious, colorful sets, bright and vibrant clothing, gold coins, lots of bling, etc – effectively, an exaggerated and boisterous flair to the show that would clearly jump out as a tribute to the romanticized view of the Rom culture. However, none of this takes away from the heart and soul or enjoyment of the show. Zingari as a cirque production brings together brilliant performances, gorgeous artistry, wonderful music and a rare opportunity to see all of this fabulous entertainment up close.

Zingari plays at the Dallas Children’s Theater through January 3, 2016. Tickets available at www.dct.org.

Mina Frannea Mina Frannea is an online media professional. She is the editor and social media manager at North Texas Kids Magazine as well as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for Actor Richard Hatch. Mina enjoys the Arts, Sci-Fi, new technology, cooking, enlightening discussions and sharing relevant information on her blog TheMomsJournal.  Mina also provides PR services for conventions and other events.



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