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Contemporary Circus

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Oct 28, 2019
Oct 28, 2019
Segal Theater

Louis Patrick Leroux-led research into contemporary circus dramaturgy and meaning-making. Public exercise directed by Michael Watts in 2018.

Monday, October 28
Segal Theatre
All Day Screenings, 4:00pm Readings + 6:30pm Panel

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served

Join us as we explore the “act”, the tricks, the prowess, and the impossible physical feats of astonishing new circus dramaturgy, collective devising, and cross-disciplinary experimentation. Celebrating the newly published Contemporary Circus (Katie Lavers, Louis Patrick Leroux, and Jon Burtt; Routledge 2019), the Segal dedicates a full day to the current state  and contemporary forms of circus. Artistically-driven, politically astute, inventive, rebellious, hybridized: contemporary circus is quickly redefining the codes of what “circus” means. The end of Ringling closed a chapter  on the 19th century form, liberating artists to ask: after animals, after the clown car, after the “Ta-Da!”—what remains?

All Day Screenings– Contemporary Circus Today: New Works
A video exhibition of current world trends in contemporary circus.
Curated by Louis Patrick Leroux (Concordia University) with editing by Ulfet Sevdi (Concordia University)
Professor Leroux will be on-site to exchange and discuss the materials presented in the videos.

2:00pm Research into the Poetics of Contemporary Circus Screening
Excerpts of the three-year research-creation exploration into circus dramaturgy and meaning-making led by Louis Patrick Leroux with Concordia researchers and students and teachers from the National Circus School of Montreal. Includes workshop presentations and the commissioned piece Hamlet on the Wireand original explorations by Howard Richard, Alisan Funk, Michael Watt, Claudel Doucet and Jesse Dryden.
Approx. 25 minutes

2:30pm The Contemporary Québec Circus Scene Screening
An overview of some of the work currently emerging from Québec.
Includes excerpts of recent shows by Québécois circus companies and ensembles like The 7 Fingers, Cirque Éloize, Cirque Alfonse, Machine de cirque, Flip FabriQue, Nadère Arts vivants, Nord Nordest, Claudel Doucet.
Approx. 25 minutes

3:00pm Contemporary Circus Practices Worldwide
Excerpted pieces by Gravity and Other Myths (Australia), Cirkus Cirkör (Sweden), Hot Brown Honey (Australia), 7 Fingers (Canada), Compagnie DCA (France), Circus Oz (Australia), Compagnia Finzi Pasca (Switzerland/Canada), Gandini Juggling (England), NofitState (Wales), Johann Le Guillerm / Cirque Ici (France), Circa (Australia), Phia Ménard / Compagnie Non Nova (France), Circus Amok (USA), Ockham’s Razor (England), Compagnie Adrien M. & Claire B. (France), Streb Extreme Action (USA), and Briefs Factory (Australia).
Approx. 30- 45 minutes

4:00pm – American Contemporary Circus in NYC & Philadelphia Readings
Noted circus artists, presenters, and educators from two US circus communities discuss training, creation, and how to connect contemporary American circus with urban audiences. Curated & moderated by Ruth Wikler (TOHU/Montréal Complètement Cirque Festival) and featuring Angela Butch (The Muse), Juanita Cardenas (artist), Katy Dammers (Hand to Hand Festival, FringeArts, Philadelphia), Ben Grinberg (Circadium/Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, Philadelphia), Nicki Miller (artist), Stephanie Monseu (Bindlestiff Family Cirkus), & Eric Schmalenberger (Blunderland/House of Yes).

6:30pm – Contemporary Circus: Contestation, Reaction, Possibility Panel
Yaron Lifschitz (Circa, Australia), Sean Gandini (Gandini Juggling, UK), Gypsy Snider ( The 7 Fingers, Quebec), Jennifer Miller (Circus Amok, NYC)—celebrated artistic directors, at the forefront of contemporary circus, convene with Contemporary Circus co-author Louis Patrick Leroux (Concordia University, Montréal) and circus curator Ruth Wikler (TOHU, Montréal), moderated by Frank Hentschker.


Catch Crica’s En Masse at the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center, October 23-25.
Catch Gandini Juggling’s Spring at Montclair State University PEAK Performances, December 12-15.


Co-curated by Ruth Wikler (TOHU, Montréal) & Louis Patrick Leroux (Concordia University, Montréal) with Frank Hentschker (MESTC). Presented with support from the Québec Government Office in New York and with the generous contribution of the CRILCQ Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises.