Hanging by a Thread--Calculated Risks in Circus

Circus News

Hanging by a Thread–Calculated Risks in Circus 

Recently, an acrobat fell 25ft to the floor at the 2nd International Air Athletics Championship in Riga, Latvia[1]. In 2018, a Cirque du Soleil acrobat died after a fall during a performance[2]. In 2014, A ‘human chandelier’ fell during an aerial hair-hanging stunt at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus which sent eight acrobats plummeting to the ground[3]. These are just three examples of the long history of circus accidents. Risk is part of circus performance. The existence of danger enthralls the public when the artists fly but makes them cringe when they fall. But risk can lead to injuries and in extremely rare cases, death. The risk might come from an acrobat’s error, but the performer’s life also depends on proper rigging.
Safety Practices Crédit Photo : Fred Gérard Aerial acrobatics encompass all disciplines requiring the rigging of an apparatus at heights needed for disciplines like trapeze or aerial silks. They are considered to be the most dangerous disciplines for obvious reasons. The acrobatic rigger is the one who installs, inspects, tests and maintains the rigging equipment. Aerial rigging is essential. It ensures the safety of...
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Marion Cossin

Marion Cossin is an engineer of research at the Center for Research, Innovation and Transfer in Circus Arts/SSHRC Industrial Research Chair in circus arts in Montréal. She also is a PhD student in biomedical engineering at the Université de Montréal and at École Polytechnique de Montréal and with the partnership of the national circus School. She has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from École Polytechnique. Her works focus on the human-structure interaction between circus equipment and acrobats, improvement of safety practices, equipment design and performance improvement. Website: http://www.marioncossin.com/