Practitioners Academics Unite Circus and Its Others 2021

Circus News

Practitioners and Academics Unite! A Sneak Peek into Circus and Its Others, 2021

I’ve had a daydream of this scene before: a curious scholar peers through a telescope from a high window in the ivory tower of academia. They adjust the lens to get a better view of the circus tent in the field below. What are they doing in there? Holding the tent flap aside, circus practitioners take turns pointing binoculars back at the tower. What are they thinking up there? Sometimes, circus practice and circus theory feel impossibly far apart, and the distance between the tent and the tower can foster misunderstanding or even suspicion. My daydream optimistically goes on: acrobats use trampolines, or maybe a teeterboard, to alight into the tower windows; academics zip line into the big top; or the two groups simply meet on a bridge spanning the castle’s moat and talk the evening away. Sometimes, all it takes is the right tool or the right space to create proximity which encourages communal discourse.
Circus and its Others (CaiO) is just that: an opportunity for practitioners and scholars to close the distance between their respective inquiries. As described on its website, CaiO is “an international, cross-disciplinary research project that explores the ways in which contemporary circus artists and companies relate to concepts such as difference, otherness, and alterity in their practice. “Although it wears the coat of an academic conference, co-director Charles Batson (Union College) says CaiO has made the choice “to always work in a space where there are practitioners and artists. Working in a specific silo, one may go in one direction – it may be a hugely exciting direction, but wow! – how even more exciting it can be when other voices step ou...
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Madeline Hoak

Madeline Hoak is an artist and academic who creates with, through and about circus. She is an Associate Editor for CircusTalk, Adjunct Professor of Aerial Arts at Pace University, a member of the American Circus Alliance's EDI committee, and the Editor and Curatorial Director of TELEPHONE, an international arts game. Madeline has performed, coached, produced, and choreographed at elite regional and international venues. Her background in dance and physical theater are 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 Thinkers: Reflections, 2020, and "Digital Dance & TELEPHONE: A Unique Spectator Experience." Madeline has presented academic papers at numerous conferences including Circus and it’s Others (UC Davis), 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. madelinehoak.com