New circus explores a wide range of contemporary global and existential questions. From the dystopian performances of pioneering French new circus Archaos, and the ongoing social justice agenda of Circus Oz, to the themes of social decay and environmental degradation in Oozing Future’s 2019 production Autocannibal, new circus has sought innovative ways to challenge and confront audiences mediated by the human body. With a focus on emotive narrative representations of risk and death, this qualitative research examines the interaction of embodied movement and music in Zebastian Hunter’s Lacanian-inspired Empty Bodies and the author’s development of a circus opera, The Blood Vote. The immediate and embodied artforms of music and circus combine to engender a non-literal, yet powerful, form of speech surrogacy that communicates meaning and emotion, so we are reminded that anything is possible, not least of which is the illusion of the victory of life over death that circus performance itself embodies. Death is ever present in life, a fact we try to repress; circus confronts the audience with the undoing of this repression: we are going to die. This is what captivates us. In this way, contemporary new circus functions as an important signifier of meaning in contemporary performing arts.
Game, J. (2019), "Music and Embodied Movement: Representations of Risk and Death in Contemporary Circus", Bennett, M.J. and Gracon, D. (Ed.) Music and Death: Interdisciplinary Readings and Perspectives (Emerald Interdisciplinary Connexions), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 93-106. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-945-320191014Download as .RIS
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