Category Archives: Circus

‘People want to feel they might see an accident’ – how dangerous is the circus?

Cirque du Soleil acrobat Yann Arnaud’s fatal fall has cast a shadow over the world of circus on its 250th anniversary. Is audience demand for bigger thrills in the big top driving performers to ever greater risks?

Ten days ago, Yann Arnaud, a French acrobat based in Florida, posted a photo to Instagram in which his right hand grips the nylon strap he would later swing from during a show by the Canadian circus group Cirque du Soleil. For weeks, he had been perfecting an act alongside fellow artist Pawel Walczewski, and they were ready to reveal it to a live audience in Tampa. “After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight,” Arnaud wrote below the photo. “It’s time to go for it.”

Hours later, Arnaud, 38, appeared to lose his grip. Video shot by a spectator showed him falling several metres on to the stage. Crew members rushed to his side while the audience gasped. “There were children there and they were freaking out,” another spectator told a Florida TV station. Arnaud, who had two young daughters, died in hospital later that night.

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Source: gad

Sold to the circus as children: trafficking survivors showcase their skills in Nepal

Kidnapped and forced to become child circus performers, a Nepalese troupe now scale the heights on their own terms

In a dusty gymnasium south of Kathmandu, a group of twentysomething Nepalis are rehearsing a new routine. One girl sways back and forth on a trapeze suspended from the metal rafters, twisting and turning as two boys play-fight below her. Miming a struggle, one boy ducks as the other tries to grab; one jumps as the other lunges. As the boy shirks off his would-be assailant, he comes close to being hauled offstage, or “kidnapped”, in performance-speak. But the kidnapper manages to grab just the boy’s T-shirt, and tears it from him before running away.

Kidnappings, trafficking and fending off villains are key themes for Circus Kathmandu, a troupe founded by and comprised of trafficking survivors. Smuggled as children into neighbouring India and sold into the travelling circus industry, they have since turned their unique skillset into an educational art form as Nepal’s first – and only – circus.

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Source: gad