Almost a year ago, I shared a video about my favorite performance troupe “Traces” being featured on America’s Got Talent. At the time, I didn’t realize that I would be living in New York City five months later… And especially didn’t realize that I’d be reunited with the “Traces” cast in Union Square.
I saw the group perform last week, and it was just as riveting as I remembered.
Now, this is a pretty high bar to set… I’ve seen “Traces” perform quite a few times now, and so there’s not necessarily a lot of wonder or surprise left in it for me. In the entire ninety minute production, there was only one act that I hadn’t seen before, thanks to the addition of performer Xia Zhengqi. The rest of the show was just what I had seen and adored nearly a dozen times in Charlotte back in 1998.
Having said that, it was still breathtaking. I went back and reread my original review, which included this paragraph:
I’ve never seen people DANCE with basketballs before, or fight with chairs. I’ve never seen someone practically make love to a book on a recliner. I’ve never seen someone climb up a series of poles — and writhe and tumble down them — in a way that was both less sexual and more sensual than any “pole dance” you’ve ever witnessed in a strip club. I’ve never seen a waltz with — and simultaneously inside — a giant wheel. Dancers on skateboards were entirely new to me, as were adults performing gymnastics with a giant teeterboard (like a see-saw from a playground…) And the way they kept trading places with each other, sharing each others’ techniques, while sliding in and out of playing the piano…
Well, now I have seen all of those things before, over and over again. And yet, I still grin like a fool every time. I still catch my breath when a performer drops like a stone and stops inches away from a catastrophic injury. I still cover my mouth in wonder at the beautiful feats of agility and grace that these people bring to the stage.
Here’s a video of their official trailer:
Congratulations to original cast members Bradley Henderson (my favorite performer of the original guys) and William Underwood (who was apparently there as an alternate during the performance I saw last week) for continuing to bring their art to life.
And of course, a special shout-out to the lovely Héloïse Bourgeois from the original cast, who wasn’t present but who will always be the heart of “Traces” for me.
If you’re in New York City, go see “Traces” in Union Square. I promise you’ll be happy that you did.