Performance art that’s a whole lot more than just entertainment

Contributing writerJune 14, 2013 

Matthew "Poki" McCorkle and Ember Bria will perform in the Amalgamated Dance and Stage Works show Saturday.


When we think “variety show,” South Sound residents might well think of Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show — silly, funny and sometimes jaw dropping.

And though the local Tallhouse Arts Consortium has shown us differently, we still might think of circuses as the place for aerialists and acrobats.

With Amalgamated Dance and Stage Works, happening Saturday, Wes Hauffe is out to set locals straight on both counts.

Presented by Hauffe’s new production company, Eccentric Wheel, Stage Works aims to present compelling and meaningful performance art.

“It’s not simply entertainment,” Hauffe said. “Hopefully it’s entertaining and good to watch, but it’s not just entertaining.”

“I went to the one they did in April,” said storyteller Elizabeth Lord, who’ll perform at Saturday’s show. “It was wonderful. There was some really high-caliber performance.”

Hauffe also is the founder of Tallhouse, and most of the performances would fit under the category of “circus arts.”

On the bill Saturday, along with Lord’s stories and music by Aantarcticaa: partner acrobatics by Hauffe and Rhonda Gladney; contact juggling by Morgan Goldberg and Randy Schless; and work by three performers from New Mexico – aerial fabric by Laura Stokes, a physical skit by Matthew “Poki” McCorkle and contortion by Ember Bria.

But these are not Barnum & Bailey’s circus arts.

“Our goal is to do more dance and theater than circus,” Hauffe said. Hence the show’s rather serious name.

“We’re not interested in spectacle and the wow factor,” he added. “Not that we don’t want to do risky or impressive physical feats, but we don’t want those to stand alone or be a substitute for something deeper.”

He sees this show, which launched in April, as a complement to Tallhouse’s monthly gig at The Brotherhood Lounge, which has been happening for the past four years. (That show, which takes place at 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month, is currently on summer break, probably till October.)

“Our Brotherhood shows are always packed,” he said.

Unlike the Brotherhood show, this one welcomes all ages. “I was really hoping that people would bring more kids,” he said.

While the April show didn’t draw a huge crowd, Hauffe said he expects that to change soon.

“Everyone loved the show,” he said. “I was really happy with the feedback.”

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