Since its founding, Omnium: A Bold New Circus has sought to make the circus experience accessible to audiences of all kinds— particularly to people with special needs. But what does an all-access circus look like? As Omnium’s first live show, “I’mPossible,” illustrates, sometimes it means paring spectacles down a bit. In this review, I weigh in on how Omnium creates a circus for all to appreciate.
It has been said (on this very website, even) that the language of circus is spectacle. Bright lights and colors, flashy costumes— wherever you turn your head, the image that you see is an embrace of the death-defying, show-stopping, and larger-than-life. I’m a big fan of visual grandeur myself… at least, when I’m looking at a still object: say, a street mural painted on a city building. Walk by it slowly enough, and you can appreciate the finer details, take things in all at your own pace. Add neon lights or moving pieces to it, though, and the sight can become plainly overwhelming. This experience can be especially true for neurodivergent fans of art. To borrow terms used in some circles of the disability rights movement, “neurodivergence” or “neurodiversity” refers to people with conditions like autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorder, whose brains function differently than what’s considered the “standard” or neuroty...
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