Circus Center’s Holiday Show Features 7Fingers Circus Troupe With the U.S. Premiere of TRACES

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Circus Center’s 2006 Holiday Show features ‘7Fingers’ circus troupe with the U.S. Premiere of TRACES. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco December 13, 2006 – January 1, 2007. Montreal-based new circus troupe has deep roots in San Francisco.

Time is running out. How would you leave your traces? This is the question that drives the performers in TRACES, Circus Center’s 2006 Holiday Show from the Montreal-based ‘7Fingers’ troupe. A collective creation from one of the most exciting new circus theatre companies in the world, TRACES offers an ethereal, surreal and unreal multi-media contemporary circus experience. TRACES combines stunning acrobatics with an urban hip-hop flavor, all imbued with a poetic reflection on memory and survival. Directed and choreographed by ‘7Fingers’ founding members and Pickle Circus alumni Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll, TRACES is performed by five talented young actor-acrobats fresh out of Montreal’s École Nationale de Cirque, most of whom received their early circus training from Master Lu Yi at Circus Center. Performances of TRACES are at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, 3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco, from December 13, 2006, through January 1, 2007. Tickets are available from City Box Office by calling (415) 392-4400, or online at For more information, visit or the group’s website

The clock is ticking - a countdown towards an unknown fate. The performers are thrown straight from a whirlwind catastrophe onto a stage that feels like a junkyard. Anticipating the worst, they’ve cobbled together a makeshift shelter, with an eclectic array of useful items: a piano and classical music scores, a basketball, skateboards, a well-thumbed book, an armchair, and two tall poles for holding up the world—and for climbing, five at a time. TRACES is performed by Héloïse Bourgeois, Francisco Cruz, Raphael Cruz, Brad Henderson and Will Underwood, who combine high-level circus skills with a jet-fueled urban street energy—soaring, somersaulting, contorting, balancing and catapulting as they move from one skill to another, using anything and everything that comes to hand.

Since forming in 2002, ‘7Fingers’ (in Montreal, Les 7 Doigts de la Main) has taken the world by storm with its disarmingly eccentric and intelligent re-interpretation of circus theatre. Bay Area audiences and critics raved about the company’s first production “7Fingers,” Circus Center’s 2003 Holiday Show. TRACES extends ‘7Fingers’ unique and engaging concept of a new, accessible circus where astonishing acrobatic feats illustrate much more than physical prowess: they’re poetry expressed in gestures, ideas translated into movement.

The U.S. premiere of TRACES arrives in San Francisco on the heels of performances at several prestigious venues around the world. The show just completed sold-out runs in Berlin at the famed Chameleon Cabaret, and in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to opening at the Palace of Fine Arts, the show will have a month-long run in Montreal at recently opened circus venue, Tohu.

TRACES brings the careers of several internationally acclaimed San Francisco circus artists full circle. The artistic team includes co-creators, choreographers and directors Gypsy Snider, daughter of Pickle Family Circus co-founder Peggy Snider, and Shana Carroll, former performer with the Pickle Family Circus. Four of the five performers — Francisco Cruz, Raphael Cruz, Brad Henderson and Will Underwood — started training as pre-teens at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts, studying Chinese acrobatics under the guidance of Master Trainer Lu Yi. The four spent their days in the circus gym perfecting such disciplines as hoop-diving, pole-climbing, and chair-balancing, as well as more traditional western circus skills as teeterboard and trampoline. They also "trained" alongside one another on the streets, skateboarding, playing basketball, doing graffiti. They performed together in local circus productions, including appearances with the Pickle Circus, and with the San Francisco Youth Circus under the direction of Gypsy Snider.

In 2002 the four moved across the continent to further their training at l'École Nationale de Cirque in Montreal, where they met TRACES cast member, Héloïse Bourgeois. Héloïse, who came from Paris, had accumulated her own incredible range of skills, including fifteen years of equestrian vaulting and ten years of trampoline, both at internationally competitive levels, for which she earned numerous awards and honors. She also had seven years of training in ballet, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Material Science. In the summer of 2004, Héloïse rounded up the four boys for a whirlwind tour of Europe, under the name "The Abandoned Acrobats." In just two months they performed 200 shows in seven countries, receiving the Bronze and Public awards at the Sol y Circo festival in Sylt, Germany. In their last year of circus school the five-some grew even stronger as they polished their solo acts and simultaneously prepared a collective future for their fledgling troupe. Shortly after graduation they were scooped up by 7Fingers, continuing a long association with Gypsy and Shana that began during the years the four boys were studying at Circus Center and performing in the Bay Area.


Performances of TRACES are Wednesday, Dec. 13, (press opening) 8 pm; Thursday, Dec. 14, 8 pm; Friday, Dec. 15, 8 pm; Saturday, Dec. 16, 2 pm and 8 pm; Sunday, Dec. 17, 2 pm; (no performance Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 18-19); Wednesday, Dec. 20, 8 pm; Thursday, Dec. 21, 8 pm; Friday, Dec. 22, 8 pm; Saturday, Dec. 23, 2 pm and 8 pm; Sunday, Dec. 24, 2 pm; (no performance on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25); Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2 pm; Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2 pm; Thursday, Dec. 28, 2 pm; Friday, Dec. 29, 8 pm; Saturday, Dec. 30, 2 pm and 8 pm; Sunday, Dec. 31, 2 pm; and Monday, Jan. 1, 2 pm.

Tickets for pre-Christmas performances (Dec. 13–24) are $36/$30 for Adults; $32/$25 for Students/Seniors; and $20/$18 for Children 12 and under. Post-Christmas performances (Dec. 26–Jan. 1) are $45/$38/$35 for Adults; $40/$34/$30 for Students/Seniors; and $22/$20/$15 for Children 12 and under. Tickets are available from City Box Office by calling (415) 392-4400, or online at For information on Group discounts, call (415) 346-7805. For more information, visit or


Circus Center was proclaimed by Spectacle – A Quarterly Journal of Circus Arts as “America’s premiere center for the arts of the circus.” Located in San Francisco Haight Ashbury district, Circus Center comprises: 1) the New Pickle Circus, a professional performing company; 2) the San Francisco School of Circus Arts where 900 students train throughout the year, and which includes the nation’s only professional clown training program, the Clown Conservatory; and 3) the San Francisco Youth Circus, a troupe of tremendously talented young people who have impressed audiences from coast to coast with their artistry, precision, and talent. Circus Center also provides a wide variety of outreach programs in the community such as free performances for non-profit agencies, free tickets to the Pickle’s holiday shows, performances at civic celebrations and street fairs, scholarships for low-income children to attend the annual summer circus camp, and a year-round program for at-risk youth. For the 2006 Holiday production of Traces, Circus Center will distribute 1,500 free tickets to non-profit organizations serving at-risk youth, homeless families, low-income seniors, the disabled, and other populations.

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