Contemporary Circus

What is contemporary circus?

Contemporary circus, or Cirque Nouveau, is a young genre of performing arts developed in the 1970s in France. The genre is an exciting, independent art form defined by its willingness to blur genre boundaries that redefines traditional circus.

The genre thrives on its diversity and aim to test artistic and physical boundaries. Old traditions are broken and elements of acrobatics merge effortlessly with theatre, music, dance, new media and the visual arts. While traditional circus is all about creating a spectacle and places its focus on presenting incredible artistic feats, established circus techniques in contemporary circus are no longer solely a matter of performing, but are also a means of artistic expression for the performers.

The urge to draw inspiration from other art forms and genres is reflected in the variety of names for contemporary circus: nouveau cirque, new circus and cirque actuel all refer to a genre that wishes to retain and expand its own creative freedom. Contemporary circus takes the liberty of defining its focus and its possibilities itself. It blossoms by questioning conventions, pushing the boundaries and constantly trying out new ideas.

The Chamäleon Berlin is the only theatre in the German-speaking world that shows productions of this dynamic art form exclusively and is thus a pioneer, innovator and promoter of contemporary circus in Germany and Europe.

Methodology and characteristics of New circus

Contemporary circus is based on a comprehensive form of staging that centres on acrobatics, yet does not see any boundaries between genres. It makes use of other art forms and creative forms of expression. Every show has a basic idea that is reflected in its direction, design and presentation. The artists work in an ensemble and not in the form of a series of individual acts as is typical in classic circus and variety shows. The artistic work is secondary to the dramaturgical concept across all creative levels.