If you didn’t catch the Part 1, read it here.

Circus, Non-Metaphorically: The Artist and the Athlete

To begin a reflection on circus from within circus, we might first ask: what could we propose as its basic element? Circus artists have spent little energy evaluating and challenging the form of circus itself, and certainly never to the extent dancers did in the ‘60s. A circus that rejects play-acting and instead makes interesting formal propositions; what would that look like?

If the circus were to begin to create non-metaphorically, the first step would be to identify a kind of ‘essence’. Although each artistic proposition within circus could potentially define and investigate its own version of ‘essence,’ for the sake of argument, let’s take a moment to be slightly reductionist and ask ourselves: what is the core formal assumption that we are working with? Circus academic John-Paul Zaccarini unequivocally states it: “[the ‘trick’] comprises the basic vocabulary of circus and the building blocks of the circus artefact.”[19] This is the one assumption about the form of circus that is hardly ever challenged. French cultural critics Myriam Peignist and Agathe Dumont, in their investigations into the poetry of the acrobatic movement, both agree that the ‘trick’ defines circus: Peignist asserts that “the word ‘acrobat’ necessarily implies soaring leaps, contortions… [the acrobat is] in relation to a single ardent moment.”[20] Dumont even highlights virtuosic movements as the main difference between circus and dance. For her, the debate between circus and dance centers  around questions of “being or not being virtuosic, showing or concealing effort, moving on the hands or on the feet.” Dance and circus are presented as a dichotomous pair, circus representing the virtuosic, the effortful, and the inverted.[21]

‘Tricks’ are inseparable from our conception of circus. There was already a movement in circus that recognized and assumed the centrality of the ‘trick’: in 2010, Viktoria Dalborg reported that “‘Cirque pur’, pure circus, seems to be the latest form in France, referring to performances focusing more on the pure virtuosity the artists are displaying in their respective discipline rather than on theatrical storytelling.”[22] But there is something about the ‘trick’ that makes it inherently difficult to work with as an atomic element of dramaturgical construction. The ‘trick’ is closely linked to the athletic. As Dumont explains, “acrobatics is, in one way, a performance of athleticism. It requires the same kind of physical preparation and is situated in the same register of execution as certain sports: rapidity, efficiency, precision, engagement … in most theoretical writings or treatises about dance, when a dancer is criticized for his virtuosity, his power, or for a too-obvious demonstration of his technique, he is accused of being an acrobat or a gymnast.”[23] The equation of the acrobat with the gymnast speaks volumes about the way the acrobatic gesture is perceived. An athlete, fundamentally, is not an expressive agent—the dramaturgy of athletics is present but not particularly versatile, limited in register and obsessed with the unambiguously heroic.

[It’s not exactly clear which shows Dalborg wants to call ‘cirque pur.’ in Le Grand C, for example, is a show from around the time of her statement; the focus is certainly on the technique rather than on a narrative, but the circus is hardly ‘pure.’ Although there is no conscious attempt at character, the artists are not very rigorous about preventing acting from happening, and at certain moments it slips through—unexamined leftovers from their performing backgrounds, perhaps.]

At the 2010 Arts Writers and Circus Arts conference in Helsinki, critics struggled to place the ‘trick’ in the framework of a coherent dramaturgy. For Karoline Skuseth, a dance critic from the University of Bergen, circus virtuosity “creates an intricate problem for the culture journalist. Symbols and interpretation, stage effects and scenography, yes — but circus disciplines? One should be able to describe each movement with the same meticulous attention as a judge in an Olympic diving competition.”[24] Skuseth didn’t understand what she was supposed to see in one trick versus another. She had faith in the artistic quality of the work being presented (after all, she had been invited from Norway to attend a conference intended to introduce serious arts writers to contemporary circus) and so, confronted with the circus for the first time, she took her non-comprehension of the ‘trick’ and its dramaturgical function as her fault in being an under-educated circus viewer, rather than as a fault in the material itself. But she could have just as easily drawn the opposite conclusion—that her evaluative faculties are, in fact, precisely attuned, and that the trick’s failure to communicate lies in its inherent shortcoming as a signifier. In understanding why this might be, her instinctive move to compare circus to athletics is revealing. The logical extension of her remark might be that the difference in expression-value between one trick and another, especially within one circus discipline, is similar to the difference in expression-value between a backwards-facing dive and a front-facing dive with a somersault— that is to say, not very great. And how much can be expressed using a set of elements that have more or less the same expression-value? The fact that most ‘tricks’ in a given discipline are more or less dramaturgically interchangeable points to their weakness as a central element in an artistic vocabulary.

[Watch on mute for the full experience. How would you choose to place one of these dives in the context of one dramaturgy over another?]

In her essay “Contemporary Circus—in Between Performativity and Theatricality,” Louise Kaare Jacobsen performs a fascinating and insightful analysis of the way circus functions as dramaturgy. But Jacobsen’s assumptions about the given elements of the circus are revealing. “Every single action has been rehearsed down to the smallest detail but presented night after night as being unique, groundbreaking and dangerous,” she says. “The audience must be able to latch onto that feeling of excitement and then triumph each time a trick ends.”[25] Even though Jacobsen is arguing for an expanded notion of circus, capable of a great range of expression, the ‘trick’ remains a requirement, and the ‘trick’ always means “excitement and then triumph.” This suggests an inherent lack of versatility. If circus is always about tricks, and tricks can only mean one thing, then how can circus become a diverse and eloquent art form?


credit: Natalie Oleinik

Jacobsen argues that “[the ‘trick’] takes on a direction and a meaning that is controlled by the concept and the ‘fictional’ universe’s theatricality.” Moreover, for her, reading that layer of meaning  “is not an intellectual post rationalization understanding process, but a phenomenological experience – a lived or experienced process.”[26] Circus artists toe a similar line, arguing that virtuosity raises the stakes in any given theatrical situation and therefore makes the situation as a whole more impactful. But this is not what happens in most of today’s circus shows. Rather, we very often see “acrobats entertaining a public blinded by their feats of strength, leaps, and ridiculous pirouettes” (this statement is from a 19th-century ballet treatise, so it is obviously a rather dated voice; nevertheless, the choice of the word ‘blinded’ is an astute one).[27]  When a trick is happening, it very rarely furthers a dramaturgy—more often, it moves the focus from the global theatrical proposition to an instantaneous and isolated display of athleticism. In dance, “acrobatically-derived phrases are accused of denaturing the expressivity of the movement,” and a similar operation is at work in circus.[28]

Re-phrasing and De-centring

click to watch video

click to watch video

But what, essentially, is the difference in dramaturgical value between a double back tuck and a quadruple pirouette? Dance has also had to deal with finding a place for virtuosity. As Annette Therese Pettersen explains, “circus’ focus on skills and abilities makes it very similar to … gymnastics. At the same time, many of the arts are skills orientated [sic].”[29] Dumont elaborates on some of the similarities between the technique of dance and the technique of circus: “Skillful balancing would seem the domain of the circus artist, but the same feeling exists in dance, played out in the smallest detail and in a different way. Both the dancer and the circus artist [can be] lifted a couple centimeters off the ground by a partner, or maintain balance on one foot or on the hands for a couple seconds.”[30] So what path did dance take in the 20th century to come to terms with its athleticism and square that tradition with its ambitions as a voice of contemporaneity?

[Osiel Gounod in training—ballet is clearly also at least partially based around virtuosity. What is your first reaction when you watch this video? A little unfair because this is not a performance and one could argue that everything changes under the glow of the stage-lights; I contend that if virtuosity is at the core of the rehearsal practice, the degree of difficulty will be the first thing we notice in a performance.]

Part of contemporary dance’s rebellion against the forms of ballet and modern dance included a re-examination of the pace and phrasing with which movement was deployed. As dancer, actor, and critic Sally Banes recounts, modern dance used “energy levels in legible structures … to convey feeling tones and social messages.”[31] The postmodernists wanted none of this ungrounded privileging of certain ‘chosen’ movements, preferring dance in which “no one part of the series is made any more important than any other” (choreographer Yvonne Rainer). Rainer elaborates: “The most impressive change has been in the attitude to phrasing, which can be defined as the way in which energy is distributed in the execution of a movement or series of movements . . . Much of the western dancing we are familiar with can be characterized by a particular distribution of energy: maximal output or ‘attack’ at the beginning of a phrase, followed by abatement and recovery at the end, with energy often arrested somewhere in the middle. This means that one part of the phrase . . . becomes the focus of attention.”[32] The postmodern choreographers had discovered that the distracting athleticism of virtuosic movements comes as much from the way the movement is deployed—its context within a larger phrase—as it does from the movement itself.

This flattening of dance phrasing and de-centring of the virtuosic movement resulted in dance that was unlike anything that had been called dance before. Although dance that uses banal or unimpressive movement had been quietly developing since the heydey of the Bauhaus in the 1930s—Bauhaus choreographer Oskar Schlemmer taught that dance movements should “start with one’s own life, with standing and walking, leaving leaping and dancing for much later”—it was only in the 1960s that the blurring of the line between life and art became a widespread artistic priority.[33] As John Cage states it, the idea was that “art should not be different [from] life but an action within life.”[34] This philosophy of art, aided by formal developments in phrasing, brought about the “‘pedestrian’ dance, ‘task-oriented’ dance, dance in galleries, streets, museums or empty beaches in the 1960s.”[35] To get a taste of the kind of work that was being created, we can study Yvonne Rainer’s mini-manifesto: “No to spectacle no to virtuosity no to transformations and magic and make-believe no to the glamour and transcendency of the star image no to the heroic no to the anti-heroic no to trash imagery no to involvement of performer or spectator no to style no to camp no to seduction of spectator by the wiles of the performer no to eccentricity no to moving or being moved.”[36] Postmodern dance presented movement that was in some ways instantly accessible and in others difficult to understand as dance: the work doesn’t aspire to ‘look like dance,’ firmly prioritizing conscious intentionality over blind allegiance to codes of movement and the spectacular.

The ‘trick’ in contemporary circus, like the virtuosic movement in dance, can be thought of as the ‘privileged part of the phrase’. Modern dance presented movements in a “preparation, climax, recovery” pattern;[37] according to Agathe Dumont, “the preparation which precedes the execution of an acrobatic figure, however imperceptible it might be, makes the difference between the expressive movement and the athletic one.”[38] So the problems facing circus today are the analogue of problems facing the modern dance of the 1950s (which was also, by the way, said to be “bloated with dramatic, literary, and emotional significance”).[39] If circus artists experiment with the ways in which their tricks are framed—with the ‘phrasing’—maybe they could preserve some of the existing vocabulary while changing its expression-value. Circus created in this way could welcome both the virtuosic and the non-virtuosic movement.

[To get an idea of the revolutionary change that the postmodern choreographers proposed in the post-war years, just compare Martha Graham’s Errand into the Maze (1947) with Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A: The Mind is a Muscle (1966). In Graham, the narrative is king, dance remains recognizably phrased, and a certain “suspension of disbelief” is required to enter into the fundamentally artificial universe of Ariadne and the Minotaur; in Rainer’s work, narrative and phrasing are erased, and the dance is the dance—what you see is what you get.]

Shifting the focus: from content to context

The idea of moving the focus of circus work away from virtuosity—of de-centring the ‘trick’—might seem foreign to the very essence of the circus. But circus has actually several qualities which suggest that it would be well-suited to learn from the revolution that dance went through in the 20th century. In the words of Louise Kaare Jacobsen, “circus is often characterised as being performative, self-referential and reality construed . . . it is made of real actions carried out by real people.”[40] The Russian Constructivists, for example, were aware of circus’ quality of reality, and proposed it as a more contemporary and non-artificial alternative to the theatre: “in order to oust the reigning academicism…they insisted that artists use ‘real space and real materials.’ Circus… was meticulously examined.”[41] Although circus is often thought of as superhuman, there is also something profoundly free of artifice and non-virtual about the fact of circus actions proper, in their essence and stripped of theatricalization. Part of the power of any performing art versus an art form such as photography or literature is that performance actually happens in the physical world and is therefore more immediate (also in the sense of ‘less mediated’). When contemporary circus works well, it works because of this ‘real’ quality, because the performers are actually carrying out whatever task they have assigned themselves—balancing on a wire, picking up a heavy pole with a man on top, etc. The framing mechanisms that circus uses to present and highlight these tasks as virtuosic, however, act as mediating agents, diluting the reality of the movement.   

A renegotiation of the superhuman body’s place in circus is clearly in order. The solution is not to abolish the ‘trick’ from the circus. Choreographer Jonathan Burrows articulates an interesting approach: “Virtuosity is just another way to help the audience care what happens next. Virtuosity raises the stakes to a place where the audience knows something might go wrong. They enjoy watching this negotiation with disaster… However, if everything is virtuosic then there’s nothing against which to read the virtuosity: it has to be in balance with other modes of engagement.”[42] So to balance out the ‘trick,’ circus artists need to become more comfortable with other modes of engagement, which is not to say dance and theatre, but rather non-virtuosic elements that are still natural or particular to the circus arts.

As we apply the lessons of postmodern dance to circus, the definition of circus itself becomes less and less clear. If it is not defined by its virtuosity, is it defined by its reliance on certain objects? Simone Forti’s 1960 dance piece See-Saw refutes that hypothesis. See-Saw is performed on “a plank about eight feet long, and a saw-horse, used together as a see-saw.”[43] The apparatus used in See-Saw is a modified version of what the circus world would call a teeterboard. Yet See-Saw is unequivocally a dance piece. Why is it not circus?  Sally Banes explains that for the postmodern choreographers, “a dance was a dance not because of its content but because of its context—i.e. simply because it was framed as a dance.” This paradigm shift kept dance relevant: “To call a dance a dance because of its functional relation to its context (rather than because of its internal movement qualities, or content) was to shift the terms of dance theory, aligning it with the contemporary ‘institutional’ theory of art.”[44] Perhaps, then, circus could also be defined by the context in which it is created—by the artistic discourse within which the artist situates him or herself—rather than by the content of the finished work. Jean-Michel Guy, circus researcher at the French Ministry of Culture, agrees. When, in 2010, artists in La Manoeuvre Company expressed their doubts about the label ‘circus,’ Guy responded emphatically: “The three of you are circus artists performing a piece, this makes it circus!”[45]

[A 2011 re-staging of See-Saw. Although it is framed as dance, one could easily imagine similar movements as part of a teeterboard number at a contemporary circus school. But could the whole number consist of these movements? Why or why not?]

Mue from La Manœuvre on Vimeo.

[A video of Mue by La Manoeuvre. Although the pacing is somewhat slow, this is clearly circus: there is rope, object manipulation, etc… if this company had trouble convincing the world (and themselves!) that they are doing circus, imagine the reaction that a truly expanded notion of circus might engender! There is clearly lots of work to be done.]

A truly contemporary circus

Contemporary circus is very young, and sometimes lacking in self-reflection. The postmodern turn of the mid-20th century seems to have left circus mostly untouched. This is especially true in terms of circus’ tendency to focus on the ‘what’ and not the ‘how’ of performance, preferring to layer narrative or emotional content on pre-existing forms. While circus shows come in different flavours, the material usually remains the same: the ‘trick’ is almost always at the centre of a circus show’s construction.

However—as comparison to movements from athletic disciplines reveals—‘tricks’ are bad at conveying a wide variety of meanings. For a possible solution, circus can look to dance, which has spent a long history articulating its relationship to virtuosity. A particularly fruitful insight is the one the first wave of postmodern choreographers had about phrasing; namely, that the perceived athleticism of a virtuosic movement has as much to do with the way it is framed within a phrase as it does with the movement itself. This has exciting implications for circus: maybe through research in phrasing, circus artists can succeed in finding nuance in movements that previously functioned merely as fireworks.

Perhaps the circus of tomorrow will be unrecognizable as such. Already, the circus shows which make the most interesting formal propositions are difficult to label (such as certain pieces by Aurélien Bory’s Compagnie 111 or Zimmermann & de Perrot). The idea of collapsing the content-based definition of circus in favor of a contextual one is something that might strike fear in the hearts of circus artists and circus institutions alike.


credit: Natalie Oleinik

But the ‘trick’ clearly needs to be decentralized if the circus arts are to become truly expressive of contemporaneity, and without circus’ heretofore defining feature, the separation between circus – at least the way we understand it today – and the other performing arts completely falls apart. At a conference in Berlin in 1966, art philosopher Theodor W. Adorno acknowledged that “borders between artistic genres have begun creeping over one another, or more precisely, their demarcation lines have been infringing on one another.”[46] Circus has not kept up the pace with other, more progressive art forms. But as Stéphane Hort astutely states, “to want to contain contemporary creation in a predefined territory, to no longer accept certain shows as part of the ‘circus’ genre…would also be to claim to know the borders of this art, all the while fearing that it might evolve or create its own dynamic.[47]

[These shows, Sans Objet by Compagnie 111 and Öper Öpis by Zimmermann & de Perrot, both use circus elements and emerge from a circus context, but avoid—for the most part—making artistic decisions based on what circus is “supposed” to look like. For a more detailed analysis of this scene from Sans Object, see John Ellingsworth’s deconstruction.

This destabilization and loss of certainty is not cause for fear, but celebration. Michel Foucault, in his introduction to Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, proposes that the destruction of borders is essential for living a ‘non-fascist life’ today: “Develop action, thought, and desires by proliferation, juxtaposition, and disjunction, and not by subdivision and pyramidal hierarchization…Withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe that what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.”[48] A circus that also could be called dance or could also be called theatre is ideologically aligned with the anti-authoritarian, the contemporary, the postmodern, and a view of art as something that “can only be interpreted by the law of its movement and not by invariants.”(Adorno)[49]

Of course, the de-centring of the ‘trick’ would be destabilizing for many circus artists. Without the support of ‘tricks,’ the circus artist would have to focus more on concept. And not every circus artist has the tools to do this. As Bauke Lievens explains, “Many circus artists are not aware of what has happened and what happens now in the performing arts.”[50] A circus that is defined by its context presupposes the artist’s intimate familiarity with his field and the conversations that define it (which here I take, quite broadly, to be the field of the performing arts in general); in circus, this is not always the case. But through a concerted effort to update him or herself on the developments in art in the 20th and 21st centuries, each circus artist is capable of discovering concept, content, and context, and of making the relevant work that could bring circus fully into the world of art.  Perhaps circus can, by re-defining its relationship to the virtuosic, find the voice it needs to speak meaningfully to the people and societies of our contemporary world.

[19] Zaccarini, Circoanalysis, 47.
[20] Myriam Peignist, “Inspirations acrobes,” trans. Sebastian Kann, Sociétés 81 (Third trimester 2003): 23.
[21] Agathe Dumont, “Interprètes au travail: danseurs et acrobates, de l’indiscipline à la désobéissance,” trans. Sebastian Kann, Memento 3 (October 2011): 2.
[22] Dalborg, “New Circus,” 5.
[23] Dumont, Danseurs et acrobates,” 3-5.
[24] Skuseth, “Not Necessarily Beautiful,” 21.
[25] Louise Kaare Jacobsen, “Contemporary Circus—in Between Performativity and Theatricality,” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010): 14.
[26] Ibid., “Between Performativity and Theatricality,” 16.
[27] Carlo Blasis, Traité de l’art de la danse, ed. Flavia Pappacena, trans. Sebastian Kann (Rome: Gremese, 2007), 158.
[28] Dumont, “Danseurs et acrobates,” 4.
[29] Annette Therese Pettersen, “A Crash Course in Circus,” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010): 17.
[30] Dumont, “Danseurs et acrobates,” 7.
[31] Sally Banes, “Terpsichore,” 43.
[32] Yvonne Rainer, “A Quasi Survey of Some ‘Minimalist’ Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity midst the Plethora, or an Analysis of Trio A,” in Dance, ed. André Lepicki (London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012), 59.
[33] Quoted by Goldberg, Performance Art, 112.
[34] Ibid., 126.
[35] Lepecki, “Introduction,” 19.
[36] Yvonne Rainer, “On Dance for 10 People and 12 Mattresses Called Parts of Some Sextets,” in Dance, ed. André Lepicki (London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012), 48.
[37] Banes, “Terpsichore,” 45.
[38] Dumont, “Danseurs et acrobates,” 5.
[39] Banes, “Terpsichore,” 44.
[40] Jacobsen, “Between Performativity and Theatricality,” 14.
[41] Goldberg, Performance Art, 38.
[42] Jonathan Burrows, A Choreographer’s Handbook (New York: Routledge, 2010), 76.
[43] Simone Forti, “See-Saw,” in Dance, ed. André Lepecki (London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012), 36.
[44] Banes, “Terpsichore,” 47.
[45] Quoted by Dalborg, “New Circus,” 4.
[46] Quoted by Hort, “Borders,” 12.
[47] Hort, “Borders,” 13.
[48] Michel Foucault, preface to Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983): xiii.
[49] Quoted by Hort, “Borders,” 12-13.
[50] Lievens, January 18, 2015

Works Cited

Banes, Sally. “Terpsichore in Sneakers.” In Dance, edited by André Lepecki, 43-7. London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012. Originally published in Terpsichore in Sneakers (Hanover NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1987), xiii-xviii.

Blasis, Carlo. Traité de l’art de la danse. Edited by Flavia Pappacena. Rome: Gremese, 2007.

Burrows, Jonathan. A Choreographer’s Handbook. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Cunningham, Merce. “Space, Time, and Dance.” In Dance, edited by André Lepecki, 26-8. London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012. Originally published in Melissa Harris, ed., Merce Cunningham: Fifty Years (New York: Aperture, 1997), 66-7.

Dalborg, Victoria. “Absurd and Exciting New Circus.” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010): 4-7.

Dumont, Agathe. “Interprètes au travail: danseurs et acrobates, de l’indiscipline à la désobéissance.” Memento 3 (October 2011): 2-9.

Forti, Simone. “See-Saw.” In Dance, edited by André Lepecki, 36-7. London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012. Originally published in Handbook in Motion (Halifax, Nova Scotia: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design/New York: New York University Press, 1974) 39-40.

Foucault, Michel. Preface to Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, xi-xiv. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.

Goldberg, RoseLee. Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. 3rd ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2014.

Hort, Stéphane. “A Question of Borders….” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010): 12-13.

Jacobsen, Louise Kaare. “Contemporary Circus—in Between Performativity and Theatricality.” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010): 14-16.

Lepage, Louise. “Posthuman Perspectives and Postdramatic Theatre: the Theory and Practice of Hybrid Ontology in Katie Mitchell’s The Waves.” Culture, Language, and Representation 6 (2008): 137-149.

Lepecki, André. “Introduction//Dance as a Practice of Contemporaneity.” In Dance, edited by André Lepecki, 14-23. London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012.

Peignist, Myriam. “Inspirations acrobes.” Sociétés 81 (Third trimester 2003): 21-44.

Pettersen, Annette Therese. “A Crash Course in Circus.” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010):17-18.

Rainer, Yvonne. “A Quasi Survey of Some ‘Minimalist’ Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity midst the Plethora, or an Analysis of Trio A.” In Dance, edited by André Lepicki, 39-40; 58-60. London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012. Originally published in Gregory Battcock, ed., Minimal Art (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1968), 263-4; 266-7; 269-73.

——. “On Dance for 10 People and 12 Mattresses Called Parts of Some Sextets.” In Dance, edited by André Lepicki, 48. London: Whitechapel Gallery/Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2012. Originally published in The Tulane Drama Review, vol. 10, no. 2 (1965).

Skuseth, Karoline. “Not Necessarily Beautiful—A Newborn Circus Critic’s Confessions.” Arts Writers and Circus Arts 2 (2010): 19-21.

Stoddart, Helen. Rings of Desire: Circus History and Representation. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2001.

Zaccarini, John-Paul. Circoanalysis: Circus, Therapy, and Psychoanalysis. Stockholm: University of Dance and Circus, 2013.

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