Past, present and future converge in immersive Carbondale circus

A Convergent Circus performer showers attendees with bubbles Wednesday as they walk between acts at 13 Moons Ranch South of Carbondale.
Photo by Ike Fredregill
If You Go…

What: Convergent Circus

Where: 13 Moons Ranch, 6334 Colorado Highway 133, Carbondale

When: Thursday-Saturday, 5-8 p.m.

Cost: $45, $25 for kids aged 9-15, free for kids younger than 9.

More info:

A walk through the woods of 13 Moons Ranch below Mount Sopris this weekend will also transport guests through time and integrate them with the elements of earth, fire, water and air.

The Convergent Circus continues its interactive art and theatrical performance through Saturday evening as guests walk a loop through built stages, watching local and out-of-town performers convey messages of nostalgia, chaos and healing. Ballet and sword dancers, spoken-word artists, sound healers, singers, fire contortionists and aerialists come together to tell a narrative through the near mile-long journey.

“I would say no one in the Roaring Fork Valley has ever seen anything like this,” co-producer Ariana Gradow said. “Potentially, no one in the world has ever seen anything like this.”

Around a year ago, Gradow got together with Carbondale Arts executive director Amy Kimberly to begin laying the groundwork for an immersive show that sourced local and nonlocal talent to create work for artists and rebuild a sense of community as a pandemic ebbs and flows. She needed something to “dive my hands into,” as did many others in the art landscape.

It culminated in a group of nearly 50 people and a core group of around 20, she said. The end product is a coherent narrative that weaves together the four elements and the passage of time — air is the past, fire is the chaotic present, water is healing and earth is the hope for a grounded future.

Performers pay tribute to Native Americans and the ’70s. They use the rivers that run through 13 Moons to demonstrate relaxation and healing.

“It was not your typical circus, and I really enjoyed that,” Carbondale resident Marty Silverstein said. “You could really see the pride in the Native American mother’s face as her daughter danced in the traditional ways for the audience.”

Flexing with fire, a contortionist entertains Convergent Circus attendees Wednesday with a display of human elasticity.
Ike Fredregill/Post Independent

Gradow said the show is fluid, even on a show-to-show basis. Different performers were available midweek than will be this weekend. Show start times range from 5 to 8 p.m., and LEDs give before- and after-dark shows completely different feelings.

“I was nervous about the nighttime experience,” Gradow said. “The whole place is popping with lights. It’s its own beautiful, epic experience at night.”

A Native American mother and daughter perform a traditional dance Wednesday during the Convergent Circus.
Ike Fredregill/Post Independent

With a coherent theme and malleable performances, Gradow is hoping visitors will take away their own messages, as well. She hopes it means something different to each person.

Visitors leave in groups every half-hour. They stop at each stage, watch a performance and move on to the next. The whole trek takes an hour to 90 minutes in a loop starting and ending at the parking lot, with a distance a little shy of a mile.

A young circus performer balances on a unicycle Wednesday as part of the Convergent Circus, during the “Air” act of a four-element themed performance.
Fredregill/Post Independent

The show asks that the audience dress in accordance with the weather and season and be prepared to walk. They suggest bringing a flashlight or headlamp if coming to a show after dark. Due to variable terrains and distance, the show is not ADA accessible. Tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for children ages 9-15 and free for any child 8 and younger.

Convergent Circus began shows Wednesday and will continue through Saturday night. Following the final show, the producers are hosting an after party at the ranch with live music from local Red Hill Rollers and Denver funk band The Copper Children.