Thursday, September 26, 2013

An ordinary acrobat's extraordinary tale

OA Jacket cover
I've just finished Duncan Wall's The Ordinary Acrobat (Random House, 2013), which interweaves two engrossing narratives: the often elusive history of circus and this young American's sojourn to France to explore contemporary circus as an increasingly enamored student, scholar and advocate. (Wall currently serves as National Director of Circus Now, the American advocacy organization, and teaches circus history and criticism at the National Circus School of Montreal.) While some of Wall's swings between past and present, personal and historical, might dizzy a few readers, I hung on for the whole vicarious, mental ride, coming away with a thirst for seeing more contemporary/interdisciplinary--and even traditional--circus and turning my skills as an arts writer to this stimulating challenge. If you think you know everything that circus is and can be--Ringling Bros. over here; Cirque du Soleil over there--this book will give you a peek at unexpected possibilities and may inspire you to search out more. Good stories, good ideas, good company.

And on Thursday, October 24 (6pm), meet Duncan Wall at Brooklyn Academy of Music's Fisher Hillman Studio for a talk on the rise of contemporary circus and the state of the art today. This event is presented as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival in conjunction with the American premiere of Hans was Heiri by Swiss circus innovators, Zimmerman & de Perrot.

For complete information and tickets for Wall's talk, click here.

BAM Fisher Hillman Studio
321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn

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