Contemporary types

Contemporary circus (originally known as nouveau cirque) is a recent performing arts movement that originated in the 1970s in Australia, Canada, France, the West Coast of the United States, and the United Kingdom. Contemporary circus combines traditional circus skills and theatrical techniques to convey a story or theme. Compared with the traditional circus, the contemporary genre of circus tends to focus more attention on the overall aesthetic impact, on character and story development, and on the use of lighting design, original music, and costume design to convey thematic or narrative content. For aesthetic or economic reasons, contemporary circus productions may sometimes be staged in theatres rather than in large outdoor tents. Music used in the production is often composed exclusively for that production, and aesthetic influences are drawn as much from contemporary culture as from circus history. Animal acts appear less frequently in contemporary circus than in traditional circus. Early examples of nouveau cirque companies include: Circus Oz, forged in Australia in 1978 from SoapBox Circus and New Circus, both founded in the early 1970s; the Pickle Family Circus, founded in San Francisco in 1975; Ra-Ra Zoo in the UK in 1983, Nofit State Circus in 1984 from Wales; Cirque du Soleil, founded in Quebec in 1984; and Archaos in 1986. More recent examples include: Teatro ZinZanni, founded in Seattle in 1998; Quebec's Cirque Eloize; Les 7 doigts de la main (also known as The 7 Fingers);[23] and the West African Circus Baobab[24] in the late 1990s. The genre includes other circu troupes such as the Vermont-based Circus Smirkus (founded in 1987 by Rob Mermin), Le Cirque Imaginaire (later renamed Le Cirque Invisible, both founded and directed by Victoria Chaplin, daughter of Charlie Chaplin), the Tiger Lillies, Dislocate,[25] and Vulcana Women's Circus,[26] while The Jim Rose Circus is an interesting take on the sideshow. Swedish contemporary circus company Cirkus Cirkor was founded in 1995. U.S. Company PURE Cirkus[27] was founded in the subgenre of "cirque noir" in 2004, and in Northern England, (United Kingdom), Skewed Circus[28] combines punk, rap, dance music, comedy, and stunts to deliver "pop-circus" entertainment to young urban audiences. The most conspicuous success story in the contemporary genre has been that of Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian circus company whose estimated annual revenue now exceeds US$810 million,[29] and whose nouveau cirque shows have been seen by nearly 90 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents.[30] Despite the contemporary circus' shift toward more theatrical techniques and its emphasis on human rather than animal performance, traditional circus companies still exist alongside the new movement. Numerous circuses continue to maintain animal performers, including Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, UniverSoul Circus, and the Big Apple Circus from the United States, Circus Krone from Munich, Circus Royale and Lennon Bros Circus from Australia, Vazquez Hermanos Circus, Circo Atayde Hermanos, and Hermanos Mayaror Circus[31] from Mexico, and Moira Orfei Circus[32] from Italy, to name just a few.