Circus Costume Magic Jenny Leigh Du Puis

Circus News

Circus Costume Magic with Jenny Leigh Du Puis

The Designer Series is a set of articles dedicated to the people who bring color, light, architecture, ambiance, and sound to circus. Often they invent and construct in a shop, a studio, a tech booth — unobserved by the standard circus patron, yet essential to the circus experience. These professions exist in many art forms, but this series digs into what it means to be a circus designer and celebrates their contributions to the community. In this series I also aim to glean from my interviewees and share with my readers what it takes to start, develop, and succeed in a circus design career. Secondly, I wanted to hear — straight from the source — best practices for communication amongst production teams to both honor the expertise of circus designers and make the show creation process as smooth as possible.
Jenny Leigh Du Puis. This month, I spoke to Jenny Leigh Du Puis, costume designer extraordinaire. Because of the extreme athleticism, body-to-body or body-to-apparatus contact that occurs in most disciplines, circus costumes do far more than simply clothe a performer. They are part of the performer’s safety, they are an engrained part of the story telling, and they are integral to character development. These specificities are seen in the long history of circus performers designing and building their own costumes. Du Puis explained how in small or familial companies, there is an apprenticeship m...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through, and about circus. She is a Writer for CircusTalk, Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts and American Circus History at Pace University, Editor and Curatorial Director of TELEPHONE: an international arts game, and curator and director of Cirkus Moxie, a weekly contemporary circus show at Brooklyn Art Haus. Madeline has performed, coached, produced, and choreographed at elite regional and international venues. Her background in dance and physical theater is infiltrated into her coaching and creation style. She is passionate about providing her students holistic circus education that includes physical, historical, theoretical resources. Madeline initiated the Aerial Acrobatics program at her alma mater, Muhlenberg College, where she taught from 2012-2017. She is also a regular contributor to Cirkus Syd's Circus Thinkers international reading group. Her circus research has been supported by Pace, NYU, and Concordia University. Recent publications include "Teaching the Mind-Body: Integrating Knowledges through Circus Arts'' (with Alisan Funk, Dan Berkley), a chapter in Art as an Agent for Social Change, "expanding in(finite) between," a multimedia essay in Circus Thinks: Reflections, 2020, and "Digital Dance & TELEPHONE: A Unique Spectator Experience." Madeline has presented academic papers at numerous conferences including Circus and its Others (UC Davis), International Federation for Theatre Research (University of Reykjavík), the Popular Culture Association, Gallatin (NYU), and McGill University. Madeline earned an MA from Gallatin, New York University’s School of Independent Study, where she designed a Circus Studies curriculum with a focus on spectatorship.