Circus in flux – Circus in transition

An Introduction to Contemporary Circus

Dancing About 2022/23

Over the last fifty years, circus internationally has undergone a remarkable transformation. As a progressive form of circus, the “contemporary circus” has gained a new position within society. Contemporary circus is also becoming more visible in Germany: the number of venues and festivals programming circus is increasing with growing audience participation and the amount of ensembles with large productions is growing. Circus is the subject of academic research and is increasingly being promoted as a separate sector with public funding.

As part of the guest performance of the German group Overhead Project, we take time for an introduction to this young and exciting art form.

Tim Behren, artistic director of the company Overhead Project and director of the Cologne Circus Dance Festival, and Jenny Patschovsky (chairwoman of the Federal Association of Contemporary Circus) – as joint editors of the book “Circus in flux” – introduce the art form of contemporary circus in conversation with the artistic director of the Societaetstheater Heiki Ikkola.

About the book

The workbook “Circus in flux” (published in June by Theater der Zeit) is a snapshot and vision, a cross-section of different artistic positions, working methods and perspectives. Contemporary circus is enormously multifaceted – at the centre of this compilation are positions from Central Europe. The portraits and interviews provide insight into creative processes, aesthetic questions and creative structures within the art form. The articles and commentaries introduce the specifics of the genre, encourage us to revise our own ideas of circus, reflect on historical developments, refer to interdisciplinary aspects and reveal political interconnections.

It is about (contemporary) circus as a cultural-historical, social and aesthetic phenomenon – and as a social projection surface. With the inclusion of the magazine VOICES, the view is expanded to include the so-called non-human turn, a circus-aesthetic discourse that examines the strong presence of objects and circus apparatus.