Circus meets dance for inspiring evening

ALICE by The Underground Circus and tap dance virtuoso Danny Nielsen in Love. Be. Best. Free. will be at the ACT in Maple Ridge.

Rehearsal for ALICE by The Underground Circus out of Vancouver. Below: In Love. Be. Best. Free.

Rehearsal for ALICE by The Underground Circus out of Vancouver. Below: In Love. Be. Best. Free.

Circus and dance will join together for an awe-inspiring night at the ACT.

Starting the evening will be the show ALICE by The Underground Circus out of Vancouver.

The Underground Circus is in its 10th year as a professional company, founded by Peter Boulanger and Ninon Parent, with a focus of creating professional level innovative circus acts.

“I’ve worked with this company before when I was at [Vancouver International) Children’s Festival and they’re kind of a hugely kept secret because they mainly work for corporate entities,” said Lindy Sisson, executive and artistic director at the ACT in Maple Ridge.

The company received a Canada Council Grant to create a new structure for their current show. It named the new structure Alice and needed a venue to unveil it.

Sisson couldn’t resist.

“’It’s a huge contraption that is a half moon shape that they rock and run up and down it and hang off of it,” said Sisson.

It consists of two nested curves and weighs 441 pounds. It is six feet wide, 18 feet long and requires 36 feet of travel space when it rocks back and forth.

On the inner surface of ALICE, there will be dancing, acrobatics, contortions, handstand acts and performers sliding down the surfaces as it moves and swings. Performers will also be climbing the structure on the outside, letting the it’s momentum throw them into flips and jumps.

Artistic director Boulanger has a passion for creating and exploring movement possibilities on new and unique structures. He has crafted a multitude of one-of-a-kind aluminum welded sculptures.

His partner Parent is the head trainer for the circus, with experience in acrobatics and stunts. She directs and oversees the aerial choreography and oversees the creation of the elaborate costumes created for the show.

In Love. Be. Best. Free., young tap dance virtuoso Danny Nielsen will be fusing storytelling, comedy and athleticism in a high-energy performance.

The premiere work by Nielsen will explore the influence of love and its effect on the root of life choices.

Nielsen is originally from Calgary and began his rhythm tap dance career as a founding member of MADD Rhythms Canada, under the direction of Lisa La Touche.

He is in his second year as the Artist in Residence with the Vancouver Tap Society, with which he directs the youth ensemble TapCo and a newly formed Pre-Professional company.

• The show takes place at 8 p.m. on March 10 at the ACT, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge. Adults are $32, seniors $28 and youth $15. For more information, call 604-476-2787 or go to