A new breed of circus comes to town

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For some, running off to join the circus as a kid is something we fantasize about.  But for Jesse Scott, member of the Australian group Circa, he didn’t have to fantasize about it – he lives it. Having been involved with the circus before he could walk, Jesse comes to Vancouver with the rest of Circa troupe as part of this year’s
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

Originally a member of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Australia’s only full-time circus school for children, the circus has been in Jesse’s blood for as long as he can remember.  With both his parents working in the back office and his sister also working as a circus performer, it was probably not surprising that he too was bitten by the circus bug.

“We had a trapeze hanging from a gum tree in the backyard since I was three years old,” Jesse remembered. “I would watch my sister doing her thing [in the circus] and then I would go home and play at home.  I’m sure I gave my parents heart attacks with some of the stuff I did as a kid.”

After graduating from Fruity Fly, Scott decided to pursue his own career as a professional circus artist working freelance before joining up with Circa almost three years ago.  “I love every second of it, touring around the world and doing what I love.”

Australia’s Circa, including Jesse Scott jumping through the hoop, bring their new brand of circus to Vancouver.

Touring around the world includes a stop at this year’s PuSh Festival.  But don’t expect a traditional three ring circus, and certainly no lions or elephants.

“Audiences can expect to see what the human body is capable of,” said Scott.  “It’s a contemporary circus.  It is really more of a movement based piece using circus elements.”

With Cirque du Soleil such a phenomenon around the world, it is perhaps not surprising to see other groups moving away from the more traditional circus explained Scott: “The circus is constantly evolving and keeping up with the times. People don’t want to see animals in the traditional circus anymore and would prefer to see a contemporary circus like Circa.  The skill level is constantly evolving as well as the spectacle.”

Scott’s role in Circa is what he describes as “throwing people around” and on the trapeze.  “My main specialty is as head trapeze where I balance on the trapeze without net about 3-4 metres above the ground, depending the theatre.”

For Scott though what sets Circa apart from other contemporary circuses is its rawness: “We try to strip away all the fluff.  We don’t like to put on make-up and elaborate costumes.  It is humans doing amazing feats.  We like to improvise and are constantly discovering new themes on stage.  The shows are constantly changing and not boring for us, so the audience is captivated by it.”

Circa – Part of the 2011 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Frederic Wood Theatre, UBC
19 – 22 January 2011

Seven performers move from highly connected acrobatic and tumbling sequences to fast-paced moments of great intricacy where precision and timing are everything. Their signature style combines physical beauty, formidable circus skills and an immersive use of sound, light and projection. The result is a new form of captivating circus performance that is impossible to forget. Visit http://www.pushfestival.ca for tickets and information.

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