|"These girls swing. They bend. They breathe fire. What's not to love?"|
Photo: Channel 4/All 4
There are still people out there for whom the word circus conjures up a Big Top and lots of animals doing tricks, for whom the human element is little more than a interlude between the tiger-taming, or the elephants on their hind legs. If you are reading this blog, I doubt you are one of them. But still, the clichés are out there, somewhere, just down the line, as Barnum once said. So I'm thrilled to see the release today of Circus Girls (see Chapter 90 - click here) by the Channel 4 online channel "All 4", which bears testimony to the talent, creativity and dedication of seven women to their art. There is also the invisible presence of an eighth, Estlin Love, who introduced film-maker Umut Gunduz to the world of circus originally. The series spans a range of skills that will most likely be an eye-opener for the general public, who doesn't generally see much beyond a juggling clown or a flying trapeze. In each episode there is a different handle on what drives a woman to be circus strong, and why they have chosen their respective discipline, that builds into a cohesive body of work.
These are portraits of independent free spirits who, you sense, are both uncovering and discovering themselves in their work, and I think the ultimate test of courage is the way they choose to entrust that message to Umut.
Watch them now: www.channel4.com/programmes/circus-girls/episode-guide
Angelica Thistel Klüft - Straps
Imogen Rose Macrae - Cloud Swing
Lynn Scott - Contact Juggling
Le Renn: Jackie Le and Rebecca Rennison - Aerial Hoop Duo
Missy Macabre - Fire-Eating
Lily Raptor - Contortion