Artists take to the aerial bar for dance

Tangle is bringing its new show, “Loop,” to North Philadelphia.


Life is tangled – at least it is in the mind of Lauren Rile Smith.

“There’s always people saying that women can’t be strong and untangle themselves,” Rile Smith, founder of Tangle Movement Arts, said. “So we are here to prove that we can.”

Tangle Movement Arts, a local circus acrobatic arts company, will unveil its newest show, “Loop,” at the Philadelphia Sound Stages, located on North 5th Street, Sept. 18-20.

“Tangle was inspired by the possibility of making performances about the relationship between people, either supporting each other emotionally or supporting someone by holding them physically,” Rile Smith said.

The group was showcased for the first time at the 2011 Fringe Festival. Since then, they have produced a major show every spring and fall, along with small installations in the summer.

Rile Smith said Tangle’s name originated from the inspiration of the possibilities that arrive when things get complicated.

“We are really emphasizing on the relationships between women in the range from passionate to platonic,” Rile Smith said. “We utilize that through circus and aerial and that’s something new that we did this year.”

“Loop,” Tangle’s newest show, reveals the importance of community and diversity among women.

“We think that in this world there is not enough of powerful women being shown,” Rile Smith said. “I think that relationships between women are erased, I think that they are made secondary to other story lines and the range of relationships between them are not explored.”

The show emphasizes those feminine relationships and follows two separate storylines of women chasing independence and personal growth.

Rile Smith said each woman in Loop brings her own personality to the aerial bar, but it is evident in each performance.

“Everyone that’s a part of Tangle has had some sort of background with this kind of stuff, some have been gymnasts for years and others apart of circus and acrobatics,” Rile Smith said.

Collaboration is an important aspect of creating the shows and choreographing with the women, Rile Smith said.

“I think we each have a different interpretation.” Rile Smith said. “But I love that we have intensive collaboration with people who are adults and who all enjoy doing the same thing that I do.”

Stephanie Rocha can be reached at

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