Illusion, prestidigitation, mentalism, the unexplained. Trad magicians have always had their place in trad circuses – vanishing tigers inside their cages and elephants behind curtains lifted from stepladders – but contemporary circus has its own developing relationship with magic, and specifically with new magic, a subgenre described by leading figure Raphaël Navarro (in Stradda) as 'an art whose language is the diversion of the real within the real' – meaning that where other artforms create their effects within metaphor or mimesis, new magic creates seemingly real effects within the context of real perception. Or as Navarro's partner in crime Clément-Debailleul puts it: 'New magic asks questions and opens pathways: stepping out of the limits of the performing arts, imagining effects without a magician, going beyond the visual domain to address the other senses – smell, hearing, touch, taste...'
There’s a scene in Le Cirque Invisible where Victoria Chaplin walks out on stage with a number of furled umbrellas. She dances, and opens them one by one until they obscure her—more umbrellas than two hands could hold or control.