Circus News

Circus Bodies: Meaning Makers and Culture Creators

Circus bodies, as a topic, is enormously complex. The angles from which one could approach the subject are limitless. Circus bodies, as performing bodies, are important producers of culture. They supply us with new knowledge by shifting perceptions and pushing against norms. Taking all of this into consideration, Circus Talk is diving in head first. From February through July 2021, we are producing a series of articles and panel discussions that will focus on circus bodies. The series will explore and invite conversation about aging, fat, gendered, disabled and BIPOC/BAME circus bodies. It will also cover sideshow circus bodies and artists who use their body for extreme circus acts. Each event will be crafted with an acute and sensitive awareness that it is impossible to encapsulate the individual nuances, intersectionalities, stereotypes, and cultural perceptions that any individual or group experiences at any point in a circus career. 

I’m sitting at my kitchen counter. It’s late afternoon, and I’m still in my pajamas. I’m sifting through my circus library in search of thoughtful references about circus bodies. It’s proving impossible — circus bodies are everywhere! Authors may not advertise circus bodies as their topic, but rare is a piece of research or writing that does not rely on the corporeal evidence produced by performing circus bodies. I often hear in conversations that western contemporary circus performances showcase the young, able, athletic, cismale, white body as the norm. The goal of this series is to give space to and lift up a variety of voices (and bodies) that do not identify with these modifiers, and to be an additional platform for active and ongoing conversations. ...

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Madeline Hoak

Madeline is a NYC based performer, producer, professor, and choreographer specializing in aerial, acrobatics, dance and movement direction. She is an adjunct professor of Aerial Arts at Pace University, on staff at Aerial Arts NYC and The Muse Brooklyn and initiated the Aerial program at Muhlenberg College where she taught from 2011 - 2017. Her movement direction contributed to Circle Theater NYC’s production of The Mountain winning Outstanding Original Choreography/Movement, 2015. She co-choreographed The Battles, a musical voted by Broadway producer Ken Davenport one of the top 10 new scripts of 2016. Madeline's choreography has been presented at Dixon Place, Circus Warehouse, BAX, The House of Yes, Abron Arts Center, Times Square, The Flea, STREB, Galapagos, and The Muse. She received BAs in Dance and Theater from Muhlenberg College and is currently studying at NYU’s Gallatin school of Individualized Study where she is designing a master’s degree in circus studies with a focus on dramaturgy and creative processes. madelinehoak.com.