Has Circa made the literal leap from contemporary circus to contemporary dance with its latest work? On by Circa is acrobatic to be sure, but while we know not to expect spangles and drum rolls from the Brisbane-based company, this production’s absence of acrobatic equipment is striking. It’s essentially eight bodies moving with a precision and artistry that’s more often physical poetry than circus. It’s thrilling, but not just because of feats that make the audience gasp; Circa crashes through the boundaries of genre to explore what it means to be human. What it means to be ‘on’ both in the sense of being activated as well as in contact with a supporting surface.

On by Circa.

On by Circa. Photo © Pia Johnson.

Commissioned by Melbourne’s Monash University, and making its world premiere at the institution’s Alexander Theatre, On by Circa was created by the circus company’s Artistic Director, Yaron Lifschitz, and the ensemble of performers. Responding to COVID’s impact on physical contact, from...