CircusTalk would like to wish a very happy 11th World Circus Day to our wonderful circus community! The holiday was created to celebrate the circus arts internationally and to unite the circus industry. World Circus Day raises awareness for the circus arts and garners well-earned attention for creators.
Whether you’re a seasoned circus professional or just starting out, part of the traditional circus world or a contemporary artist, World Circus Day means something a little bit different to everybody. This holiday calls us to reflect on what circus means to us as individuals, and evaluate our hopes and fears for the future.
We heard from Abigail Munn, Artistic and Executive Director of Circus Bella, who described how circus is significant to her and how she feels looking towards the future:
“To me — circus is unique in that it is an art form with the potential to cross-cultural barriers. I am inspired by the ability of the circus to showcase the universal potential of what humans can do together. Right now I am feeling inspired — I am actually able to start planning shows right now which is what we do best. I have been very involved in the creation of the American Circus Alliance and feel strengthened and empowered by the support that this work has created within our community.”
We also had to opportunity to speak with Zsuzsanna Mata, executive director of the World Circus Federation. On the genesis of World Circus Day, she says:
“The Fédération Mondiale du Cirque (FMC) called upon the world circus community first in 2010 to pay tribute and celebrate together our art-form. World Circus Day was founded by FMC based on the one year experience of the European Circus Day (2009). Like other draughtsmanship or professions we wanted to have one day in the year for circus therefore the third Saturday of April had been nominated for the festivities.”
World Circus Day also serves a purpose for the circus industry. It helps drive attention, recognition, and support to the circus arts. Zsuzsanna Mata gave us more insight on the meaning and mission of the holiday:
“The professional circus organization recognized very early that regardless of nationality, language or style, the circus communities share the same values, the same traditions and there was a need to raise the prestige of circus arts. A worldwide collaboration and demonstration of our unity by sharing joyful moments of the art of happiness help to represent better our common interests in each country. If we act wisely WCD is an easy means of publicity and circus can gain broad positive attention. World Circus Day for me is the biggest common feast of the global circus community; the essential content is to unite in our values by sharing it within and outside the community.”
Due to the pandemic, everyone is anxious for the future. Hopes, fears, and tensions are running high. On the future of circus, Zsuzsanna Mata says:
“The pandemic struck like a tsunami or an earthquake. It was sudden; nobody could be prepared for that. But while the mentioned catastrophes come and go, we have had to live with Covid-19 already for more than a year. I guess that 2020-2021 will be recorded in history as a milestone in circus arts as well. We are and will be obliged to face a ‘before’ and ‘after’ era, most likely, the two very different from each other.If we try to keep a distance and look back in history, we always experience that each situation had two opposite sides: the good and bad; the easy and difficult; the positive and negative were/are present all the time.
I have already mentioned the flexibility of our art-form. The circuses, artists and communities have the strength, willpower, resilience, and talent to find their ways and adjust to the changed circumstances but they need support. And that latest does not come automatically. Conditions vary country by country. That is a serious problem and we all fight for funding. In the temporary virtual space, which is altogether alien for circus, I have seen very good creative examples and attempts, all focused on keeping up. It is a sign also which feeds the hope and convictions in overcoming these unprecedented times. I believe that conditions will allow within a reasonable time to open the doors and revive live performances. My real fear is that we might miss then some companies.”
This World Circus Day, we look back on the amazing creations that have come out during the pandemic. From Zoom, to social distancing, the circus has overcome many hurdles. Despite a near total shutdown of the industry, circus artists continue to show the world that the circus is here to stay.
To find World Circus Day events, visit the World Circus Federation web page.
Main image courtesy of Pixnio