new-york

Zingaro

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) | Peter Jay Sharp Building

Zingaro’s Chimère (Chimera, 1996) the recent large-scale “equestrian theater” production presented as part of BAM’s “Next Wave Festival,” sought to stage a hybrid cultural form combining circus act, dance, and performance art. Held in a tent erected in Battery Park City at the margins of Manhattan (much as Renaissance London theaters, prisons, and hospitals were built outside the city’s walls), the production immersed itself in the cachet of exclusion, precisely in order to elevate a mass-cultural form to the arena of high culture.

Distinctions between high and low, center and margin, nature and culture have, of course, been long under siege, as have the universalist assumptions of value that underpin them. But this largely French troupe, led by artistic director Bartabas, seemed, romantically, to wish to retain such oppositions, precisely in order to suggest that this spectacle could become

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