Flynn Creek Circus brings the big top to Base Village
All-human theatrical troupe to perform in Snowmass this weekend
What: Flynn Creek Circus
When: Seven shows over the course of three days include offerings at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Snowmass Base Village Event Lawn
Tickets and more info: circuscolorado.com
The big top is back in Snowmass Base Village, and with it a crew of acrobats, contortionists and other circus folk from the all-human Flynn Creek Circus troupe who perform in seven shows this weekend.
There’s something special — and “something for everybody” — in setting up that colorful tent in a village like Snowmass, said event organizer Gina Hallisey.
Hallisey coordinates theatrical circus performances around the state through Get Connected Events and its Circus Colorado division; she has worked with the town for years bringing other troupes to Snowmass and said circuses have always been a hit in high-altitude environments.
“I think that’s what makes circus so amazing in mountain communities is that you get that European vibe like you’re seeing it in a village in Europe,” Hallisey said. “When you see a big top on Base Village, on the event lawn there, it’s just a sight to see, especially from above, from the village above. It’s pretty amazing.”
The big top isn’t quite as big as it was the last time a circus came to town in 2019; the Mendocino-based Flynn Creek Circus goes for a more “intimate” environment with individual tables and benches available and about a third of the capacity of years past, Hallisey said. Imagine a “cabaret setting” with a maximum of around 185-200 attendees rather than shoulder-to-shoulder stadium seating and a crowd of 600 circus goers, she said.
Organizers also are leaning into the different atmosphere it creates with a bar and drinks available. While it’s not necessarily a typical sight at a mainstream circus, it is par for the course at “theatrical circus” performances like Cirque du Soleil, she said — a category that includes the Flynn Creek show, with its character-driven “Fairytale” theme, she said.
“All the characters are very visual, and they actually tell a story. … They go through the ups and downs,” Hallisey said. (“Ups and downs,” in this case, includes those narrative changes as altitude adjustments performed by acrobats and aerialists.)
The Flynn Creek Circus layout appealed to Hallisey from a pandemic precaution perspective because it allows people to stick with their “social bubble” if they choose to do so and because it’s more spread out than traditional formats. She said she also appreciates the troupe’s “conscientious” COVID-19 safety practices.
But it wasn’t just the public health protocols of the Flynn Creek Circus that brought this particular crew of performers to Snowmass Village; Hallisey also has a long-running connection to some of the members of the group.
“Well, you know, us circus people all know everybody,” she said.
She connected with the David Jones and Blaze Birge of Daring Jones Duo, a trapeze artist pair who are part of the Flynn Creek cohort, in the early years of her circus-coordinating work and kept in touch as they pursued their own performance career — one that includes a lengthy list of accolades and an appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2011.
“I was just impressed by their professionalism and their skill. … I just met them, they had mentioned that their dream was to have their own circus, and we just kept in touch over the years,” Hallisey said. “And they got their own circus and the time was right to where I said, ‘You’re fit this year, you’re a fit, this circus would fit great here.'”
Consider it an “escape,” she said — but don’t consider it a last-minute decision. Hallisey said she expects some shows to sell out in advance.
“Just run away for a couple hours with the circus, because it’s like you step back in time,” she said.
The Powers Art Center is opening its newest exhibit, “Wrapped,” curated by Melissa English and Sonya Taylor-Moore on Friday, December 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit will run through November 2, 2024.