Contemporary Circus: Physical Surprise

Text by: Joanna Dong  撰文:董一燃

 Translated by: Chen Ting  翻譯:陳婷


Contemporary circus, or Cirque Nouveau, is a term coined mostly to differentiate itself from traditional circus. Yet the difference is not in the innovation of skills. Compared to traditional circus which is a form of entertainment, contemporary circus strives for greater artistic achievement. Today, amid the constant convergence trends in theatre, the skills and body languages of performers also became a source of creative inspiration. Meanwhile, the growing influence of literature and added dimensions of the theatrical space offered unprecedented artistic possibilities as well.


 No Fit State present BIANCO

Contemporary circus in Britain, though not necessarily world-leading, is steeped in history and blessed with favorable environment which stimulated its sound development in the past few decades. British contemporary circus excels in exquisiteness as it borrows heavily from dramaturgy while maximizing artists’ physical features. Founded in 1992, Gandini Juggling is a fascinating British contemporary circus company specialized in juggling, yet the combination of circus and modern dance has added a sense of elegance to their performance. Their most famous work SMASHED draws inspirations from the works of contemporary dance artist Pina Bausch. Using nostalgic, cinematic settings, SMASHED transformed the amusing act of juggling into a graceful and sophisticated performance without affecting the rhythm and flow of the entire show. Behind the effortless grace is the performers’ tremendous confidence and meticulousness, a true reflection of the theme – intense emotions of love and jealousy disguised by the calm and relaxing surroundings of afternoon tea.

英國的新馬戲在世界範圍內並不算特別領先,然而由於其深厚的戲劇傳統和良好的戲劇環境,英國的新馬戲在過去的幾十年中有著非常穩健的發展。同時,善於從戲劇制作角度出發去發揮藝術家的身體特色,使得英國當代馬戲精致考究的特點鮮明易見。成立於1992年的“甘迪尼雜耍(Gandini Juggling)”就是非常有特色的一個英國新馬戲團體,專註於雜耍技巧(Juggling),由於其融入了當代舞蹈的元素,讓他們的作品更顯得優雅別致。劇團的代表作品《砸碎(SMASHED)》靈感來源自舞蹈劇場大師皮娜.鮑什的舞蹈作品。通過懷舊的、電影化的場景,作品將傳統意義上娛樂色彩濃重的雜耍演繹得優雅和深沉;但是這並不妨礙整個作品的輕盈流暢,那種極度的自信融入在整個作品中,一切表面上的不經意實則極為嚴謹,這些正如該作品的主題一般,波瀾不驚的下午茶背後泛濫著愛的濃烈和得失的嫉妒。


In contrast, contemporary circus troupe Notfit State in Cardiff has brought the entertaining side of traditional circus to pure perfection. Notfit State’s work Bianco and their unique Big Top have been seen repeatedly at the Fringe Festival, leaving the audience with an overwhelming impression. Bianco is an absolute visual feast – the entire observing experience could be described as being transported between heaven and hell by the Angel and the Devil: performers demonstrating up close the beauty of human physique and sexual attractiveness; dramatic stunts on the pure white truss as an embodiment of the kind of youth sentiment Romeo and Juliet once had; crystal ball as the symbol of tenderness and serenity against the sweeping turbulence. The show builds up to its climax as the female artist was being raised up in midair, slowly unveiling her 10-meter-long white gown with stunning fallen rose pedals scattered on it, an epitome of deceased love.

There are several theatre in London have the reputation of staging contemporary circus shows. We have been brought two of them here for our readers to have a taste of how they amaze their audience.

於此同時,位於卡迪夫的當代馬戲劇團別扭馬戲(Notfit State)則是將傳統馬戲的娛樂性開發到了另一個極致。該團體的作品《白色(Bianco)》攜帶其獨創的巨大帳篷屢屢在邊緣藝術節亮相,成為令諸多觀眾難以忘卻的記憶。這是一場視覺的盛宴,整個觀演的經歷仿佛被天使與魔鬼輕牽著手往來于天堂與地獄。演員們完美的肌肉線條勾勒出整個演出的性感氣質,一切都發生在身邊。那些純白而質樸的網格上面,攀爬著羅密歐與朱麗葉式熱烈的少年情懷;而晶瑩的水晶球卻沈靜了一切的躁烈,吟唱著如水的柔情;最震撼的一幕緊緊地扣住主題,在場地的正中,女演員被緩緩升起到高空,隨之展現的是她身著的長達幾十米的白色長裙。稀疏散落的玫瑰花瓣,在裙子上刺目而淩亂地勾勒,這難道就是有關愛情的葬禮。



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