Review: 360 ALLSTARS, Auckland Arts Festival

By Paul Simei-Barton

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In recent years bits and pieces of hip-hop have been artfully appropriated by circus performers, so it's refreshing to see the 360 ALLSTARS crew flipping the script by bringing traditional circus skills into a wildly energetic celebration of street culture.

The unifying motif for the show is the 360 degrees of a circle and in one way or another it is the self-propelling energy of spin that keeps the performers in motion.

There are electrifying twirls and head spins from a pair of break-dancers; freewheeling acrobatics from a BMX stunt rider; the finely balanced motion of a basketball suspended on the point of a finger; the centrifugal force generated by rotating inside a huge steel ring and densely layered sound loops that give texture to the live music.

Director Gene Peterson maintains a casual vibe with plenty of goofing around that draws the audience into an intimate relationship with the performers.

Basketball maestro Rashaun Daniels has a particularly engaging stage presence as he explains just how difficult it is keep 5 basket balls bouncing at the same time and he wins a big laugh with a clever line about New Zealand's national team.

A lively break-dance battle pits the assured style of US veteran B-Boy Kareem against the youthful athleticism of local hero B-Boy Leerok. Australia Rhys Miller gives a muscular demonstration of gymnastics inside a Roue Cyr Wheel and for sheer skill and precision it is hard to top BMX Flatlander World Champion Peter Sore from Hungary.

MC Sam Perry keeps the show rolling with a dynamic display of beat-boxing, rapping and live looping. The street-style entertainment doesn't quite match the death-defying bravado of modern circus professionals but it more than makes up for it with energy and attitude.

Auckland Arts Festival Review

What: 360 ALLSTARS

Where: The Civic, until Sunday, 20th of March

Buy tickets now!

- NZ Herald

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