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Arts & Life

'Brave Space' circus performance: A world its creator wishes was real


Watching the dark and dystopian world of "The Handmaid's Tale" on television inspired Shayna Swanson to create its opposite: a world where women come together and lift each other up.

The result is a performance show she named "Brave Space."  Swanson, founder of Chicago-based Aloft Circus Arts, calls it a circus show inside of a blanket fort.

It features an all-female cast of circus performers and 250 yards of fabric.

"(The fabric) is on the floor and grows throughout the show to like, become this kind of wonderland that everyone gets to be a part of," Swanson explained. "Some people say it feels like being in a womb. Some say it feels like being in a cloud."

The metaphor is intentional. Swanson said the show is her antidote to the horrible news we hear every day.

"It's a show that's about community and trust and trusting strangers and bringing people together, kind of learning how to see the humanity in each rather than just walking through life like we're all strangers and we don't have any important connections to each other, because we do," she added.

The audience eventually joins the cast under the moving fabric and some audience members are assigned roles during the performance if they choose to accept them.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear more.  There are three scheduled performances for Brave Space at the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival on Sept. 19, 20, and 21. The show is at School of the Arts.  Get tickets at

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