Smack dab at 42nd Street in the middle of Times Square there are fire jugglers, contortionists, acrobats, hoop divers, roller bladers and a plethora of age appropriate, live, international entertainment to entice children and families.
Staged inside the New Victory Theater, performers of Circus Abyssinia:Tulu showcase Ethiopia’s unique talents while spotlighting the music and athletic prowess of the Amharic, African people.
Mehari “Bibi” Tesfaramariam and Binyam “Bichu” Shimellis are the co-creators of the production which is inspired by the true story of Derartu Tulu, the first African woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
The enlightening presentation lauds the long distance runner who emerged an Ethiopian heroine.
Not only is the 1992 champion lauded for her trailblazing victory but the show pays tribute to Ethiopian women and warriors and the diverse culture they represent.
Predominantly integrated throughout the production, the first circus created entirely by Ethiopian artists brandishes the red, gold and green banner they are revered.
Costumed by Feven Alem from Addis Ababa, nine performers wear traditional designs and fabrics that identify the heritage and culture uniquely associated with the nation.
How she drapes each pattern to form-fit bodies patrons can relate seem a departure from the usual size zero to size two impractically challenging anatomies flaunted by athletes from this genre.
That vibrant colors and stylized accessories reflect the continental flare of the destination add to the allure associated with the distant land.
With skill and speed, each talent execute proficiency to 70s Ethiopian funk, disco and Ethio-pop while exuding wonderment and pride often relegated to enchanting, imported performances from Brazil, Germany China, France and Eurocentric nations.
Unlike Ringling, Brothers & Barnum Circus, Cirque du Soleil, Universoul Circus, and the Big Apple versions, the family production celebrates African excellence.
In addition to th previously mentioned treats, aerial acrobatics, hand balancing, and a roller blading duet exalt the season’s child-friendly presentation.
The New Victory Theater is committed to arts access for all communities of New York to experience and engage with the exemplary international shows on its stages. Every season, artistic disciplines and traditions from around the world.
Through 2023, nine productions of musical theater, circus and puppetry from five different countries will connect families to new cultures ideas and ways of thinking.
Circus Abyssinia:Tulu ends on Jan. 1 with two performances at noon and 5 p.m.