Unpacking Injury in Circus: E2 Renée Mak

Circus News

Unpacking Injury in Circus: Flying with Excess Baggage with Amiel Soicher Clarke–E2 Renée Mak

In this audio series, Unpacking Injury in Circus, former circus performer and current behavioral neuroscience student, Amiel Soicher Clarke, explores the lived experiences that influence injury management for circus performers, using his analytic auto-ethnographic thesis as a guide. In this second episode, Amiel and Renée Mak embark on an honest discussion to explore personal experiences with injury as circus performers.

Amiel Soicher Clarke is a previous trampolinist and teeterboard performer and current acrobatic trainer at the National Circus School in Montreal. In tandem with teaching, he is a student in the Honour’s Behavioural Neuroscience program at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada under the guidance of Sport Psychologist and qualitative behavioural sciences researcher Dr. Theresa Bianco. His focus of study uses a trauma-informed approach to the psychology of injury management decisions that circus performers experience, with an emphasis on knowledge mobilization for general audiences. This is both his first time contributing to CircusVoices and first time presenting his field of research. He looks forward to hearing the perspectives and sparking a discussion with the broader circus community that he holds so dear.

Renée Mak is a multi-disciplinary circus artist and creative extraordinaire based in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. Unlike so many circus artists out there, she started her circus journey late at the age of 22. Despite a great desire to learn dance, gymnastics and diving, she grew up in a culture that greatly discourages creative endeavours and had no background in any sort of movement or creative realms. What started as a means to lose weight became an empowering, artistic journey that has become an integral part of her identity.

​Through tenacity, hard work and the gracious support, encouragement and inspiration of so many – she has become the artist that she is today. For Renée, circus is an empowering medium to explore movement, femininity, sexuality, comedy and other themes.Renée is one of the principles of the all-female circus collective, Karma & Shame.

We all have a unique experience and perspective, because life is a subjective experience. The hope in this series is to give a snapshot of what some perspectives are. Your experience matters, and we want your perspective to be heard too, whether that’s on an upcoming segment, in an email, or simply by leaving us a comment on the platform. Please get in touch and join the conversation!

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Amiel Soicher Clarke

I was a trampolinist turned teeterboard performer with various Cirque du Soleil productions. Currently am teaching teeterboard at the National Circus School in Montreal, Canada. In addition, I am the principal researcher under the supervision of Sport Psychologist Dr. Theresa Bianco studying the biopsychosocial dynamics contributing to circus performers' injury management decisions.