A length of rope rigged at both ends, some distance apart, to provide a hanging loop or swing. More popular than swinging trapeze in some quarters, regular cloudswing nonetheless has a similar vocabulary and tends towards spectacular trick-based performance which can, like all circus skills, be mercilessly gripping given the right performer. Where cloudswing is uniquely interesting though is you can rig multiple swings at different levels so that the aerialist can execute more complex wraps and drops, allowing niche specialisms like the doubles double cloudswing practiced by Collectif and then....
A scandalised woman in front of me is reaching round to cover her son's eyes as Marilén Ribot, wearing a knotted corset of rope, struts back and forth to a disco beat.
'Nights were spent brainstorming about London and how to capture the essence of London through circus. We ended up with notebooks crammed with words and crumpled-up pieces of paper. On them were scribbled ideas such as the parallels between London and circus (i.e. violence or immediacy), words (rain, grey, loneliness), physical ideas of how to use the space, and some indecipherable things that have been forgotten.'
Collectif and then... on the lead-up to the first performance of their first full theatre piece, Like the rain when it stops.
Ah, circus theatre! The age-old dilemma of how to combine two opposing forces: the drive from ‘theatre’ to present characters telling stories that reach us through memory and imagination (evoking ‘there’ and ‘then’), and the drive from ‘circus’ to be in the here and now.
The Royal Opera House's Firsts season, pulling together short work from dance, physical theatre and circus, is becoming an important stopping point for circus graduates: a chance to rethink and extend degree material, and a bridge between cabaret work and the very distant and distinct prospect of a full-length stage show.
Opening the circus stage on a brutally hot Sunday, Circomedia presented a short variety style line-up mixing degree and BTEC students. The clear standout was Steven Allen’s corde lisse routine—no gimmick, no overlay, just beauty in movement, and a blend of influences that borrows from other artists while retaining something of Steven’s own character.