An history of Contemporary Circus

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© André Baumecker

Nouveau Cirque debuted in France in the 1970s, breaking away from traditional circus in a number of ways: challenging the circular presentation style, not using animals in performances, and performing sequential acts that involve a variety of skills in a way that leaves room for artistic expression in a show driven by strong narrative themes. One of the major characteristics of contemporary circus arts is—as the majority of current presentations show—that it no longer focuses on a single discipline (such as juggling, trapeze, tightrope, and so on) and makes a spectacle out of that particular discipline.

Thanks to the continued interest of government agencies, which is expressed through strong support for performing companies, and thanks to the quality of education in the field, Nouveau Cirque—or Cirque Contemporain—has become a major art form whose exhibitions are scheduled on large stages and for high-profile international festivals. Beginning with such early examples as Arts Sauts, companies like XY, Non Nova, Cirque Ici, Cirque Baroque, and Cirque Plume, to only name a few, have toured the world.

Fruitful interaction with other art forms is a key characteristic of contemporary circus. Dance, theatre, music, video arts, even architecture and visual arts have all had a great deal of influence on circus arts in the past few decades. Conversely, circus artists are often called to perform on the theatrical stage or in dance performances.

Meet with Etienne Manceau, Circus artist part of the French Compagnie Sacékripa (interview in French)

Don’t miss out L’Immédiat by Camille Boitel at Vancouver Playhouse, February 4-6 which embodies what Nouveau Cirque can be nowadays.

You are at one click to find out more about the Spotlight on France at PuSh Festival.

Dernière modification : 26/01/2016

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