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Twist and Shout

Pickle Family Circus, SoVoSo a cappella group perform tonight.


The Pickle Family Circus and the SoVoSo singing group will join for "Circus of Song" tonight at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks. The event, actually two shows for the price of one, promises plenty of physical as well as vocal gymnastics.

The song portion will be provided by SoVoSo, six singers doing an a cappella thing encompassing jazz, blues, gospel and world beat, all delivered in an improvisational style. They sing originals as well as covers of tunes by the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Sly & the Family Stone. Half of SoVoSo, which is short for "from the soul to the voice to the song," are veterans of Bobby McFerrin's a cappella group Voicestra.

The jumping around part of the show will involve the Pickle Family Circus, which has absolutely nothing to do with our friends in the vegetable kingdom. This is a cutting-edge one-ring circus featuring jugglers, tumblers and mind-blowing feats of balance. Just as SoVoSo needs no instrumentalists, this circus needs no elephants--which makes traveling a lot easier.

According to Pickle founder Tandy Beal, this is a family adventure. "This is the type of show you can take your 3-year-old, your grandma or even your arts-sophisticated spouse to," Beal said.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday January 26, 2001 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Zones Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Family circus--The Times on Thursday incorrectly reported the date of the Pickle Family Circus performance. The group will perform at 7 p.m. today at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

The circus, founded more than 25 years ago in the Bay Area, was the leader in defining the circus renaissance, with its mix of traditional acts, original music, dance and stories during a two-hour performance. The show, which began as a reaction against the traditional Barnum & Bailey circus, has a definite avant-garde spirit, but it also includes old-time favorites epitomized by Diane Wasnak and Jeff Raz, better known as the clowns Pino and Raz.

The Pickles also have several members of international acclaim, including six Chinese acrobats and a pair of Russian gymnasts. Masters in the art of balancing, teeterboard and acrobatic clowning, Yuri and Svetlana Lololabova have toured the world as teachers and performers.

Acrobat Weng Xiao Hong's specialty is tricks involving poles and hoops, and Guangyi Chai juggles knives and chairs. Saki Sakamoto uses balls, hoops, ropes and ribbons in his complicated exhibition of dance and balance.

The San Francisco School of Circus Arts was formed in 1985 by Pickle performers Judy Finelli and Wendy Parkman. It is the only full-time circus school in the United States, offering classes for adults and children.


Circus of Song at the Fred Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.; tonight at 7; $18 adults and $14 for children; 650-9688.

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