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We’ve all heard the phrase “one-man band,” but “one-man circus” is a far more unfamiliar concept, to say the least.

That will likely change when David Dimitri drives his truck to Ann Arbor’s Burns Park and starts setting up his specially designed L’Homme Cirque tent for performances from August 24-28, as Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s (A2SF) final offering for 2016.

Dimitri, a veteran of Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple Circus, created his acclaimed one-man show in 2001. Patrons can expect to see high wire flips, physical comedy, and a human cannon launch, as well as a finale that involves Dimitri exiting the tent on a tightrope that appears to lead him out into the sky (with the crowd leaving the tent to watch). 

And while it might seem odd that an A2SF event is happening in late August—the annual event usually wraps on or near the Fourth of July—A2SF executive director Amy Nesbitt said, “We tried to schedule it within the regular festival season, in June and July, but because of how David’s tour dates were scheduled, August was the next best option.”

One Man Circus Tile1This rare opportunity to book Dimitri’s show in Ann Arbor didn’t come easily. “This goes back at least five years,” said Nesbitt. “I was working with Robb Woulfe, who was executive director before me, and we were looking into it as David was starting to bring his show to North America more. … People don’t really realize it, but with a lot of these performers, even main stage show artists, we’re in discussions with them for years sometimes before we’re able to line up dates.”

Indeed, L’Homme Cirque made it onto the 2016 schedule in part because Dimitri has a booking in Montreal in September; Woulfe, who is now the President and CEO of Breckenridge Creative Arts in Colorado, therefore was able to schedule the show for mid-August.

Of course, not only is L’Homme Cirque happening outside A2SF’S normal time parameters, but it’s also going “off-campus” to Burns Park

One Man Circus Tile5“This is going out on a limb in a couple of ways,” said Nesbitt. “We talked to the University about putting the show in Ingalls Mall [where A2SF’s Top of the Park event happens], but there were concerns about there being conflicts with other activities. So we looked at city parks, … and we found that Burns Park had what we wanted.”

So Burns Park neighborhood residents should keep an eye out for a white tent going up in their midst—and those who might want tickets to this special, family-friendly show should snap up tickets fast.

As A2SF now considers itself the “primary presenter of cirque nouveau,” that tent may be one of the sole familiar indicators that a circus is coming to town. “There are no animals or clowns in white face. … It’s more about athleticism and movement and telling stories. It’s more like theater.”

All images courtesy of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival

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