Contemporary Circus Arts Festival Toronto :Creating Context
This is a participatory experience.
I am a contemporary circus artist practicing out of (your city). I’ve been working quite hard at my (your primary discipline) and finding that I want to express more, but I’m not quite sure what.
This might be a silly question. (No, it’s not silly…) What color is the sky? I haven’t seen it lately since I’ve been working so hard at my studio in (your city). I think there’s a scientific reason, but it seems complex. Something to do with light and reflection, materiality, and perhaps…. geography? If you have any insight, please do share.
What brings us together? What do we have to celebrate? What do we have to share?
The 3rd Annual Contemporary Circus Arts Festival of Toronto, co-produced by Anandam Dancetheatre and A Girl in the Sky Productions, draws together local and international artists to perform and create, thinking cross-culturally about the nature of their experience.
This year CCAFT’s special focus is on alternative artistic process, encouraging the exchange of research and discussion by providing community space, free events and subsidized programming. Offerings include a wide variety of master classes; for prices on par with local training, participants receive instruction with highly-skilled specialists from near and far. Groups like En Piste and Circus Now (US) will host gatherings, and local and traveling artists present works under, and in tangent with, the festival headline. This includes an exciting Big Top presentation by Vague du Cirque, performances by the festival’s official artists, a show by local Upside Down Theater, and “Undercurrents”, a curated, contemporary practice showcase at Round Venue.
CCAFT also offers an innovative “Creation Relay” co-directed by Brandy Leary and Manu Cyr, which will put into practice a radical style-exchange, an exquisite-corpse incubator with a small assembly of artists. Work made over the course of a week will be presented publicly as “process”, a demonstrated act of questioning with wild abandon, furthering discussion about process and product, means and methods.
It is interesting to consider CCAFT as a meta example of community building, and as a direct act of creation which reflects back on what it is we desire from our field. The festival prioritizes high skill, accessibility and inclusion, multi-disciplinarity, and a balance of the physical and intellectual realms. It considers what we seek not only as creators but receivers of art, asking questions with intensity and focus, collective energy and momentum.
Bound by our common interest in spectacle, which forms the core of what we consider circus, we are placed in context—up against our edges and those of the “other”; seeking reflection, seeking alliance, dreaming our realities. Building and saving space for what furthers our comprehension and expression—we are an ocean reflecting the same sky from different places.
written by Sarah Muehlbauer as the CCAFT 2015 Festival Dramaturge