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Flip, twirl and jump for 'Traces'

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Flip, twirl and jump for 'Traces' | TRACES, TPAC, Event, Arts, Entertainment, Music, Nashville

In this 2010 photo, a "Traces" performer leaps through air during the show. "Traces" runs through Feb. 24, 2013, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of TPAC/M. Meseke)

Just as a painter utilizes mixed media in his artwork, so do the seven performers of "Traces" integrate lighting, props and Olympic-caliber acrobatics on a larger than life stage.

Presented by Bank of America as part of Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Broadway season, the acclaimed show by the Montreal-based troupe 7 Fingers, opened Tuesday at Andrew Jackson Hall and will continue through Sunday, Feb. 24.

"Traces" is introduced by an acoustic guitar melody but quickly takes on an energy that has the audience in awe between collective gasps.

New York City’s most acclaimed and groundbreaking circus strips away everything you thought you knew about the big top and fuses the tradition with the energy of street performance to create an explosive display of emotion and physicality set to the music of Radiohead, VAST, Blackalicious and more.

At first, the viewer is unsure where to focus attention, for each performer is independent of the other. But taking a step back, one’s eyes can take in the theatrics as a whole and appreciate the seamlessly woven choreography of jumps, twirls and flips.

Sarcastic humor gets the audience laughing as the lights dim.

A deadpan voice encourages everyone to use their cell phones during the show, take photographs with extra bright flashes and head to the restroom at their convenience. It brings the audience in together from the beginning without the warm-up that typically accompanies a live show.

"Traces" incorporates hip-hop, classical and electronic music to tell its stories. Each genre brings a different atmosphere to individual performances. 

The six men and one woman on stage are more than dancers – they’re multi-talented musicians, actors, athletes, performers and artists. And they are incredible.

“This hit production features seven artists performing a variety of abilities, including music, song, dance and heart-stopping acrobatics, so it’s the perfect fit for TPAC and our passion for inspiring artistic expression,” said Kathleen O’Brien, president and chief executive officer of TPAC. "'Traces' will captivate and exhilarate you with its infectious blend of high-energy cirque and engaging artists.”

The show features creative direction by 7 Fingers, or Les 7 Doigts de la Main in French, and direction and choreography by Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider. Direct from New York, "Traces" is performed by Mason Ames, Lucas Boutin, Valérie Benoît-Charbonneau, Matieu Cloutier, Bradley Henderson, LJ Marles and Philippe Normand-Jenny.

Les 7 Doigts de la Main translates literally as “the 7 fingers of the hand.”

It is a twist on a French idiom (“the five fingers of the hand”) used to describe distinct parts united tightly, moving in coordination toward one common goal. Here it refers to the seven founding directors of the company, Isabelle Chasse, Patrick Léonard, Faon Shane, Gypsy Snider, Sébastien Soldevila, Samuel Tétreault, as well as Carroll and Snider. By combining their distinct talents and experiences, the founders work toward their common artistic goals with the beautifully awkward dexterity of a 7-fingered hand.

"Traces" is produced by Tom Gabbard, Amanda Dubois, Fox Theatricals, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Nassib El-Husseini and Thomas Lightburn.

Tickets start at $15 and are on sale now by visiting www.tpac.org, calling 615-782-4040, and visiting the TPAC Box Office at 505 Deaderick St. in downtown Nashville. For groups of 10 or more, call 615-782-4060

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