Cellista will perform “Élégie,” a theatrical stage poem, on Jan. 25 at NECCA.
Courtesy photo
Cellista will perform “Élégie,” a theatrical stage poem, on Jan. 25 at NECCA.

Cellista brings her theatrical stage poem and aerial cello performance to NECCA

Elégie, the theatrical stage poem and the accompanying album by Cellista, comes out on Saturday, March 23.

On Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., Cellista presents a workshop/recital of Elégie at New England Center for Circus Arts' (NECCA) "Big Studio " at the Cotton Mill, Room A-354. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for working artists and youths under 12, and are available at necenterforcircusarts.org.

In signature Cellista style, organizers say, Elégie "defies standard categorization." The one-hour stage poem follows the story of Elégie, a blackbird who shape shifts into human form and back. In her journey she finds serenity.

"I am a performer who doesn't believe in the stage," the artist said in a news release. "I am about bringing people together. The separation a stage creates between the artist and the audience is counterproductive to that goal."

The one-woman show she'll present on Thursday, Jan. 25, combines static trapeze, haunting cello melodies, and cinematic visuals. The workshop features exclusive excerpts from the upcoming stage poem and concludes with a powerful performance of Cellista's critically acclaimed multimedia operetta Pariah, which explores themes of exile, displacement, and identity. Cellista invites members of the community to offer suggestions and feedback during her workshop presentation of Elégie.

In preparation for the aerial work featured in the live staging of this work, Cellista trained intensively at NECCA.

"At NECCA, I have my community of circus friends; I train nearly 35 hours a week. I work with Elsie Smith to grow my static trapeze foundation," Cellista explained. "The circus arts have helped me develop a healthier relationship with my body. It's the first time in my life I have cared about what I put into my body, about getting rest, and finally learning to cherish this vessel."

"Cellista is a unique artist," says Elsie Smith, co-founder of NECCA and Nimble Arts. "From music to circus to visual art and the crafted word, Elégie is a full-package experience, a feast for the audience."

Kennedy Kabasares adds "Freya's physicality in the air deftly mirrors what her character is going through in her mind and heart."

Organizers describe the work as "inherently and unapologetically feminist."

"I can't think of anything more radical than creating something on your own and declaring: My story matters," says Cellista, who directed and performs the piece. Choreography is by Kennedy Kabasares, Joel Baker, and Cellista. The film was edited by Jennifer Gigantino, with cinematography by Bryan Gibel.

Cellista is a former chapter governor of the Recording Academy (Grammys) and a former San Jose arts commissioner. She received a masters in business from the Berklee College of Music in 2020. She is the founding artistic director of House of Cellista, a micro-center for the arts that advocates for and offers subsidized housing to working artists in Longmont, Colorado.

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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