Re-imagining the development of circus artists for the twenty-first century
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Circus performances now take numerous, diverse forms and these demand a new kind of circus performer, one who is adaptable, self-motivated and creatively innovative. The article argues that much current circus training is out of sync with the new requirements of this evolving industry. It re-imagines the development of elite circus artists, proposing an approach to training performers so that they are not only able to perform their ‘acts’ at the highest technical and artistic level, but are also able to function well as self-motivated, self-regulated, multi-disciplinary artists who are creatively innovative. The article outlines ‘Integrated Training’, an innovative approach to training physical skills developed by Jon Burtt, in which a focus is proposed which includes, alongside the development of high-level physical skills, attention to the development and training of cognitive skills such as self-efficacy and self-regulation, and the constructing of learning and teaching environments that effectively enhance creativity. The article proposes that Integrated Training has the potential to provide an effective basis for the development of the new kinds of artists currently required for the circus arts industry.