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Performance art at an all-time acrobatic high,
backed by alluring electronica

Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
Chicago, IL
November 3, 2010

Story by Andy Argyrakis
Photos Courtesy of Broadway In Chicago

Blurring the lines between musical theatre, dance, acrobatics and performance art makes "Traces" just as difficult to describe as the moves the cast from Montreal-based troupe 7 Fingers accomplishes throughout this brand new 90-minute show. After being greeted to some industrialized pulsations, the cast featuring six guys and a girl flip, twist and cartwheel across the stage into one another's arms, only to be catapulted back in the air and caught by someone else.

After the activity on the sparse, street-like stage settles, the cast introduces themselves via an old-fashioned hanging microphone, revealing their birth cities, ages and individual qualities. With shades of dark humor and remarkable athletic prowess, the show evolves to showcase everyone's unique traits, while incorporating "Traces" of what they've learned from one another to demonstrate unparalleled teamwork.

One of the most awe-inspiring feats features two poles that span the floor to the ceiling, which the cast often climbed one-handed, followed by flips in mid-air with effortless landings on the other side (all while maintaining the finely tuned choreography. Yet the most mesmerizing moment came during a tense electronica rave-up where everyone tumbled and intertwined through a stack of five ultra-narrow circular hoops, often times landing in a complicated pose intertwined with the other actors.

Though difficult to fully grasp without actually being in attendance, "Traces" is sure to satisfy fans of other performance art pieces, from "Fuerza Bruta: Look Up" to "Stomp" and even "Blue Man Group." Lasting just the right amount of time without ever growing stale, intertwined with some personal tidbits from the players as they stunned with their sheer strength, aptly lived up to the Playbill's tag line: "No wires. No net. All Heart."

"Traces" continues at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place through December 19. For additional details, visit

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