REVIEW: Circolombia’s Acelere at Chicago Shakespeare

From Circolombia's Acelere ProgramAs mentioned in a previous post,  Circolombia’s show Acelere is in town, and we saw it last night. It’s the culminating event of Destinos, the Chicago International Latino Theatre Festival. I’m happy to say that I can highly recommend it. It’s a gritty show filled with music, dance, daring young performers, and some unusual circus acts performed well.  Most importantly, it’s filled with heart and passion, and that’s something I love to see in any show. The show is billed as a circus concert, and I think that’s an apt description.  There’s plenty of music, and two of the fifteen performers are primarily singers.  They have lovely, amazing voices, whether they are singing traditional Colombian Cumbia (sort of folksongs) or hot rap/dance numbers, the singers are great.   At one point, there’s some audience participation singing, and the call and response could be directly from a gospel show.


The acrobats of Acelere are equally good, with an emphasis on ground acrobatics and dance.  They perform a Russian barre act, alternating between a male and a female performer doing pretty great tricks, including one of the guys performing a double forward flip on the barre. Circolombia's new show Acelere There were a couple of acts I haven’t seen before, including a ropes act that involved three ropes set on a triangle that ended up creating some lovely patterns among three performers, and then switching to one performer using three ropes, and an interesting balancing act, in which a man balanced a circular rig on his head, and then a woman did tricks on the rig itself.  It was a feat of strength, balance, concentration, and togetherness, all at once.  It was awesome.
The balancing rig from Circolombia's Acelere

The balancing rig from Circolombia’s Acelere

Another great act was a neck hang, where a man hung by his neck, while his partner did all sorts of tricks around him. It was so well-performed and calm and frenetic at once.  It clearly took a great deal of concentration, but at the same time it seemed effortless.

Their risks pay off, even if every trick is not performed perfectly.

Teeterboard from Circolombia's Acelere

Teeterboard from Circolombia’s Acelere

For me, one of the most interesting acts was the teeterboard act.  They used as their primary acrobats two guys who were radically different weights, and it was clear that they were risking a lot each time on the act– that it wasn’t done, and that they were continuing to explore in front of the audience, to risk.  That made the act very exciting to me. Too often, a circus shows off hard tricks that have been mastered.  Here we see the artists at work, and I appreciated very much their sincerity, their work and bravery, and their dedication.  Their risks pay off, even if every trick is not performed perfectly. The show left us feeling great, which is what a circus should do:  get you to remember the amazing capabilities and artistry (and sometimes mistakes) of humans.  We left the show looking at the world in a slightly different light.   The show runs October 23-November 4. Tickets start at $25. The show is held at Chicago Shakespeare’s The Yard at Navy Pier. Readers of this blog can get $5 off their purchase of the show at Chicago Shakes by using the code CIRCUS when ordering online. To book, call 312.595.5600 or visit and use promo code “CIRCUS” To find out more about Circolombia, visit them online at

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