It’s something of an annual occasion. A squadron of circus-friendly usual suspects – programmers, producers, performers, teachers – head off to Hoxton to see the Circus Space Third Years performing their solo pieces. Within the beautiful converted Edwardian power station, it’s a chance for us to see the talent that will shortly be emerging into the circus world. We get a good range of different disciplines: jugglers, rope artists, hula hoopers, aerialists, funambulists and acrobats; it’s always a mixed bag and really interesting to glimpse these young artists at a crucial point in their burgeoning careers. Their self-created pieces reveal much about their personalities and the performers they will become: some look ready to go straight into gainful commercial employment, others offer more challenging work that presents an alternate view of the circus artist. Some are funny, others are delicate; some are flashy, others are subtle. I enjoy these wild differences in tone and intention. My highlights this year included Louis Gift and Beren Damio’s Hand to Hand Acro duo which combined their obvious physical skills with graceful, creative and unexpected choreography; they carefully limited the acrobatic moves within the piece and it was a lesson in trusting the power of stillness. Heidi Hickling-Moore climbed her rope in cheeky spangled high heels, whilst a witty recorded narration voiced the hidden anxieties of an aerialist in action; gently cynical and cleverly awkward. Lydia Harper’s Static Cloud rope work was clean and sharp, as was Gonzalo Basualdo’s Vertical Rope. Ben Brown’s Aerial Hoop act was slick and elegant and offered a neat twist when he bounced his hoop on a bungee. And Tom Ball’s mischievous upside-down Boy Scout skillfully playing on the Static Trapeze was the comic high spot. It’s also fun taking a peek at the First Years, who provide diversions between the solos, even if there was perhaps a little too much diversion this year (enough of the Elephant Hoover!). In tough times, it’s great to see these talented young people so committed to their work and very pleasing that an institution like Circus Space thrives and continues to enrich our culture in such surprising ways.
Photos by Bertil Nilsson.