Traces- The 7 Fingers of the Hand- (NY)

Keeping with the theme of international circus/clowns, I recently was invited to see a show that has just opened up at the Union Square Theatre.  It’s by a wonderful troupe from Montreal called Les Sept Doigts de La Main (The Seven Fingers of the Hand)  I was in a circus with two of the 7 fingers  in the early 1990’s at the beginning of our careers!  It was founded by seven young circus artists from San Francisco and Montreal  in 2002 who wanted to create a different kind of show– one that had the skills and virtuosity of Cirque du Soleil with a decidely more intimate feel that’s aimed not at kids, but at college students and above.

They’ve succeeded.  I don’t want to call this a hipster circus, because that has a negative implication, but this show has definite hipster qualities.  (And right now it’s playing on Union Square) What’s interesting to me is that this is not the original cast – in fact, none of the original 7 Fingers are in the show, but the show plays very true to the original creators.  As well, it’s amazing to me that the 7 Fingers (all amazing and unique talents) have been able to let go of their creation enough to let other people do it, and found people equally as skilled as they are to make it come to life.  (And they come from China, Switzerland, Canada, and the US)

The show itself is called Traces, and has a lot of elements of a traditional circus– a hand-balancing act, a poles act, a teeterboard act, a hoop-diving act, a diablo act- a lot of the staples of the traditional new circus (esp. the Pickle Family Circus of the 1990’s (which makes sense, as two of the original 7 Fingers, Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider, come directly from the Pickles)  But it also has some elements that are quite different than typical.  One of those elements is video.

Strategically located video cameras record “traces” of the performance, including the opening and closing of the show.  While you are waiting for the show to begin, a videocamera right outside the door is recording  people as they come in, leaving traces of themselves on the screen.  An above head video, shoots scenes of some of the performances in such a way that at one point it looks like a Busby Berkeley synchronized swimming number.  And the show ends with the artists leaving the stage and waving goodbye to the audience, mediated through video.

We also get to meet each artist.  Different entre’actes give us the name, height, birthday, and even some quirky characteristics  about them.  (Florian is a romantic, Xia is cool, Valerie is flirtatious and likes to read.)  This is great, and I would have liked to have seen this part of getting to know the artists even more.   All of the artists are talented and virtuosic circus performers, but its the human element that draws us in.  They are people.  This part ended up getting dropped a little, and as a result, we never see them as virtuosic actors also.  (and perhaps for good reason)

There’s also a couple of pieces with skateboards, with rollerblades, and even a basketball (their dribbling and passing are not on the par with the Globetrotters,  but when Mason jumps and lands on the basketball, it’s a thrilling moment)

Overall, this show is great and highly worth seeing.  And right now, SmartTix is offering $49 tickets for the show!

To purchase $49 tickets,

  • CLICK HERE or visit and enter code TRSMT1
  • Call 800-982-2787 and mention code TRSMT1
  • Visit the Box Office at The Union Square Theater, 100 E. 17th Street, between Park and Lexington Aves.

Schedule: Monday & Friday at 8, Saturday at 3 & 8, Sunday at 3 & 7:30
Additional performances: September 8, 22, 29, October 6 at 8.

To find out more about the show, visit

To find out more about the 7 fingers, visit

See a video of Traces playing America’s Got Talent

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