Sunday, February 1, 2009

He Can Do More than Just A Handstand on a Chair Now!

I had the extreme pleasure of going to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and seeing an old College (that's UCLA) buddy of mine perform in "Cirque Eloize: Nebbia," which is now on tour on the Eastern coast. His name is Joseph Pinzon, and he had been dreaming of working for Cirque since UCLA. I remember being in a show with him soon after College, "bare" the musical. We had a "talent competition" one afternoon after a matinee, and watched as Joe did a handstand on a stable chair. Oooooo! We all laughed and applauded. He'll be in Cirque sooner than we think!

A little while later, he got into the National Circus School of Montréal, the premiere school for Cirque performers and artists. He didn't drop out, and became a regular cast member in Nebbia, and worked for other companies like Les 7 Doigts de la Main and La Clique. A lot of us thought hard about the dedication to our own craft after that. The thought of "huh, if you have a dream and put your hard work and talent into it, you might very well achieve it!"

Joe has continually been that one success story I have quoted over the years regarding the continual pursuit of one's dream and the dedication necessary to fulfill it. It's utterly amazing to watch him on stage, doing the fabric ballet 50 feet up from the stage or performing the martial arts clown for laughs. My brain could almost not connect his visage on stage with the tiny, skinny guy I knew at UCLA. He's still tiny today, but compactly muscular and containing an energy I have not seen before. It's so great to see this transformation! And I was glad to see that the director gave him a singing solo in the show as well: Joe has a beautiful sweet, high tenor voice that breaks your heart. He used it in our UCLA a cappella group "Awaken." If you ever meet Joe, ask to hear his Britney Spears's spot on. His website is under construction but will reveal itself soon at

As to Nebbia the show itself, it's an adult circus filled with mature clowning, acrobatics, music, and visually stunning poetic movement pieces. Part ballet, part gymnastics, part commedia del arte. Probably my favorite moments in the show included Joe "teaching" a bunch of uncoordinated guys how to do martial arts and Tai Chi, the trampoline sequence where guys and gals alike leapt and practically flew around the stage (Joe curled up in a ball and was "bounced" upon it for a little bit), and a surreal marimba duet featuring classical music, clowning, and falling pieces of cork. The contortionist, Felix Salas - who was apparently cast from a YouTube video - made the entire room gasp and groan in sqeamish amazement too.

Information about the rest of the Nebbia Tour can be found here.

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