Standing on hands. Handbalancing covers handstand performance – on the floor, on canes, on towers of chairs, on revolving platforms, whatever. As with many disciplines, Chinese circus leads the field when it comes to blistering difficulty – the pioneers of handbalancing, in a purely technical sense, are mostly 14 year-olds still being run through the gears of the State system. In the contemporary circus scene, the discipline has found its place among a broader vocabulary that encompasses the dichotomies of strength and fragility, standing and falling.
As the audience enter the small tent, Compagnie Rasposo are at table – eating, reaching across each other, talking, some sitting, some standing, one man building a card tower from biscuits, musicians to the side playing a jaunty air.
Appearing like a faerie ring there's an exploded circle of hay on a small green in Tackley village, a Giffords Circus A-board materialised at the centre to advertise their latest production: War and Peace at the Circus.
Last year I saw and reviewed the first part of Muualla, a collaboration between exceptional Finnish aerialist Ilona Jäntti and animator Tuula Jeker, and was broadly charmed by the world it created—a child's realm of exploration and pantomime danger where both the pleasures and the threats were imaginary.