Almanac Dance Circus Theatre Infuses Aerial Magic with a Story of Overcoming Abuse in Local Return of xoxo moongirl June 14-June 23

Almanac Dance Circus Theatre Infuses Aerial Magic with a Story of Overcoming Abuse in local return of xoxo moongirl

The autobiography of its creator, multidisciplinary artist Nicole Burgio, inspires the production, returning to Philadelphia before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in July

Genre-defying, multidisciplinary company Almanac Dance Circus Theatre presents xoxo moongirl, a critically acclaimed, honest, and emotional ensemble-devised solo show with live music by Mel Hsu. This autobiographically inspired circus fantasia, which runs June 14-June 23  at the company’s home at Funicular Station, 416 Coulter Street,  incorporates breathtaking aerials and acrobatics to tell the story of a girl in a troubled home, and her flight to the moon to escape and prevail.  Press are invited to the show June 15 and any show after.


“I come from a broken home, where chaos, domestic abuse, and fighting was a daily routine,” says Nicole Burgio, the show’s performer and principle creator. “I firmly believe that stories like this need to be told, and they need to happen now, in an era where sexism, bullying, and abuse is rampant. Bad things happen and they don’t have to define you. And, stories of abuse don’t always have to be somber. This is for the underdogs, the underheard, and the improbable.”


During the solo performance, Burgio shares stories from her childhood, at times inviting audience volunteers to join the theatrics. As the story unfolds, Burgio uses the virtuosic performance languages of aerial circus arts, dance, hand balancing, and a hint of magic to process events that have occurred, and are still occurring.


“As I watch the news, talk to friends, and listen to the outside world, I am starting to believe it is incredibly important to share my story of abuse,” said Burgio.  “It is important to talk about growing up in a house where my dad screamed and where my little sister slept with a telephone under her pillow in case she had to call the cops to save us.”


Since its premiere in June 2018, xoxo moongirl has received critical and audience acclaim, and toured to Mexico, where the show was re-presented in Spanish. The show represents Almanac’s goal of amplifying the female voice in theatre, while also bringing awareness to domestic violence and abuse.  Burgio, a long-time company collaborator, brought the idea to Almanac as part of a vision to take her isolated experience of abuse and welcome the larger community into this necessary conversation. It is Almanac’s hope to use the performance model of a solo show, and the design of xoxo moongirl in particular, to demonstrate the strength of the individual.


As well as being a renowned circus performer, Burgio also holds a Masters Degree in Clinical and Counseling Health Psychology from the Philadelphia School of Osteopathic Medicine, giving her a unique ability to attentively craft a daring performance that is sensitive to its challenging and traumatic content, while still remaining entertaining and suitable for mass audiences. Almanac’s Co-Founding Artistic Director Ben Grinberg directs and contributes to the show’s book.


Performance Schedule

  • Friday June 14, 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 15, 3 p.m.

  • Saturday June 15, 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 16, 3 p.m.

  • Monday, June 17, 7 p.m.

  • Wednesday, June 19 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 20, 9 p.m.

  • Friday, June 21, 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 22, 3 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 23, 7 p.m.


ABOUT ALMANAC DANCE CIRCUS THEATRE: Called “the little dance theatre troupe that could” by Philadelphia’s City Paper, Almanac was founded in 2013 by Nick Gillette and Ben Grinberg, graduates of the Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training, with Adam Kerbel, a graduate of the Headlong Performance Institute. The company pursues present performance at the edge of possibility through playful honesty.  Since its founding, Almanac has performed for tens of thousands, across eleven states and in Mexico, from street fairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, elementary school assemblies to private parties and events. They were selected as 2013-2014 Fresh Tracks Artists at New York Live Arts, and were the first resident company at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, They have served as artists-in-residence at Mascher Space Co-Op and Funicular Station in Philadelphia. Their work has been presented by Reggie Wilson/Philadelphia Contemporary, FringeArts, NYU Skirball Center/Circus Now!, Trinity Rep, the International Festival of Contemporary Dance of Mexico City, the Faux/Real Festival, Colgate University, Bearnstow, Pig Iron Theatre Company, and New York Live Arts, among others. Serving communities and offering educational experiences are as important to Almanac as creating original works. Full-length productions include Communitas: 5 Years Later (2019), Jeanne/Jean/John/Jawn (2018), Fronteras: An Homage to Whatshername and Fronteras: A Door in the Desert (2017), Exile 2588 (2016), Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes (2015), The Fleecing (2015), Nightfall (2014), and Communitas (2014).  Find out more at


ABOUT MEL HSU: Mel Hsu is a sonic painter of impossible worlds. As a multi-instrumental composer and performer, Mel lives in the blurry place between cacophony and stillness. A restless musical soul, Mel often ventures from her classical cello roots into unexpected realms of jazz, folk, neo-soul, rock and ethereality. Mel’s creative journeys are rooted from her time at Wesleyan University, where she was lured in by the contagious and electric energy of the multi-disciplinary artistic community.

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