Circus Sessions 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


    Michelle Man was principle investigator and facilitator of Circus Sessions 2019, an international Canadian Arts Council funded research and development project that brought together fourteen female artists from five different countries. Collaborating with accessibility facilitator Alex Blumer and the artistic organization Femmes du Feu, the project culminated in two performances at the Toronto Centre of the Arts, Canada. Taking as its starting point notions of conviviality or 'convivencia' in artistic collaborative processes, the embodied research in Circus Sessions took as its foci positive receptivity, hospitality and fascination as creative tools in collective devising processes. Recognizing risk as inherent in circus technique and performance, this project that worked with a select group of mature female artists, sought to question what risks and acts of empowerment might be attached to identity making and artistic expression for the maturing circus artist. By facilitating working environments of conviviality, which resonate with the prevalent concerns in contemporary socio cultural theory (Gilroy, 2004; Wise and Noble, 2016), new ways of recognising with-ness, and negotiating tensions that arose from cultural-artistic difference were found. An important part of the project was the artists’ interactive participation in the costume making processes, in which three abandoned parachutes were transformed, up-cycled and re-cycled into circus costume. The different elements of the de-constructed parachutes served as a visual reminder of risk and rescue. Their stained surfaces also brought with them a conflictive baggage of imagined narratives, military manoeuvres and failed flight. Each performer lived a process of adopting and adapting these performative materials, which brought another important layer of complicity and conviviality to the research and performances. The interdisciplinary nature of the project that emerged, alongside the clear foci sustained throughout, brought an empowering sense of conviviality to the performers, that was also identified by observers in the chaired post-show discussions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputOther
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019


    • Contemporary Circus
    • Collaboration
    • Conviviality
    • Toronto
    • Costume


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