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‘Both fun and messy’

SANTA FE, N.M. — In a male/female acrobatic duet, the storyline can easily turn into something romantic. Wanting to avoid that cliché, performers at Wise Fool decided instead to make their show into part circus act, part cooking demonstration.

Ilana Blankman, one of the featured artists in the Wise Fool New Mexico’s Holiday Cabaret this weekend, and Justin Brach decided to make waffles on stage amid “acrobatic hijinks.” In between the flips and tricks, they will mix ingredients like eggs, flour, milk and cinnamon, and at the end there will be the breakfast treat.

“It’s certain to be both fun and messy,” said Blankman.

In addition to this delicious act, the cabaret will showcase about 25 of Wise Fool’s artists ranging in age from 10 to the mid-fifties. The show, a fundraiser for the circus arts nonprofit, will feature trapeze, unicycling, puppetry and more.

Blankman, the program director, said the cabaret is a chance for the organization’s teen troupe to shine, along with new, impressive visiting instructors.

In addition to Brach, the other new instructor, Carey Cramer, will take the stage for her first Wise Fool performance.

An aerial rope artist who trained at the National Circus School in Montreal and toured the world with circus companies – and even with the band Heart for a while – Cramer described her movement in rope performances as “ethereal and weird.” She wants to give the audience a “hold-your-breath” experience.

For the cabaret, she said, the whole idea is about being content with where she is by performance time, something that can be difficult for her coming from a strict, “high-level” background. It’s about “letting myself be really playful,” she added.

About half of the show’s performers come from the teen troupe, a group that was formed a few years ago. Blankman said it’s finally starting to fill out with kids that are both pre-teen and above who can now show off what they’ve been learning.

The young group’s classes focus not only on tricks, but also performance quality and narrative, she said.

Lily Bair, a 12-year-old trapeze artist, had the chance to come up with her own storyline for her first cabaret segment, a duet with 14-year-old partner Jordan Howe. The two will do a trapeze act in which Howe represents herself as an upper-class, lavish girl contrasted by Bair’s ordinary character from lower on the social scale. “Through it, we become sort of equal,” said Bair.

Though some acts will be in all three shows on Saturday and Sunday, many will change from show to show to give everyone a chance to perform. Saturday’s shows are at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday’s is at 4 p.m.

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