Founded in 1981 by Karen Gersch and Niki Swarthout, ACROBRATS, Inc. is a 501c not-for-profit corporation, as defined by law. At the time, Karen, an acrobat, juggler and clown, had recently returned from touring France with a small tented circus. Niki, a gymnastics champion and dancer, had just relocated from her native Montana to New York City.
ACROBRATS evolved from explorations using all the variants of their shared expertise: dance and mime, circus and theatre, vaudeville and melodrama - with a touch of Saturday morning cartoons.
Its mission: to enrich and preserve the art of physical theatre. Their focus: creating children's and family shows that utilized artistic adagios, equilibristics, juggling, comedy, movement and drama. Their specialty: imbuing circus skills with pognant diaglogue and visual arts.
For the past twenty eight years, ACROBRATS has grandly lived up to these ideals. From the production of long-running school assembly programs and family shows to featured acts in ballets, theatre productions, and philharmonic orchestras. From numerous television and MTV appearances to documentary films and international circus-theatre festivals, their shows have served as the highlight of countless charity, corporate, and celebrity events. They are currently in demand throughout the U.S. and Canada as acrobatic coaches, choreographers and circus consultants.
“Simply unforgettable! The show had everything: acrobatics, mime, juggling, drama and humor. What a great time we all had! They were the instant favorites with both young and old alike.”
“Of special note: the ACROBRATS - positively dazzling! Entering at a run, one girl standing straight up on the other's shoulders, we know we are in for some fast-paced tricks, and they are superbly carried off!”
- New York International Clown-Theatre Festival
“... the festival's most arresting display of pure art.”
“... exquisite and breathtaking without exaggeration. The audience was indeed spellbound.”
- Boston Women's Theatre Festival
“It is very difficult to find quality performances for children AND their parents, no less performers that have a sensitivity to children. ACROBRATS is a very fine professional duo which presents something for everyone in a very refreshing way.”
- Baltimore Arts Festival
“Their "Dueling Ballerinas" nearly lifted the big top off the tent with its riotous physical humor... Imagine Abbot & Costello as women, with grace and glittering tu-tu's!”
- La Piazza, 1991 International Zirkus-Theatre Festival, Germany
“My brother laughed so hard, he snorted!”
- Jasmine, 12 years old
“Pretty cool stuff. How do you DO that?”
- Ivan, 8 years old
“When the library association gave us money, I immediately called Acrobrats/Piccolo Circus. You are the only one we wanted.”
- Brooklyn Public Library
“What great luck to have found you and Acrobrats. Thanks so much for your exciting performance at the United Nations. I don't think I have to tell you how much the kids (of all ages) enjoyed it. Again, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
- WNET Channel 13