Editor’s Fanfare Vol. IV, No. 1

 The Many Manifestations of Circus Explored


In a recent interview Johnathan Lee Iverson, ringmaster for The Greatest Show on Earth, spoke about the wonder and working power of arts education. “Give a child the arts and you give them access to a world far beyond anything they’ve ever known.  Give them access, and you give them expectations and the liberty to discover themselves on their own terms.  Give them the arts and there’s a better chance that you will create a productive citizen, capable of functioning and even thriving beyond the limits of race, class, politics, etc.  This is something I’ve lived since my days in the Boys Choir of Harlem, as a student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Performing Arts, and now as ringmaster of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.”

By way of proof of this we offer Kim Campbell’s piece on the relationship between Jessica Hentoff and Sidney “Iking” Bateman, who was identified as the circus’ newest star in the Passing Spectacle review of Cuisine and Confessions in the previous issue.

And as proof of the adage that you’re never too old to pursue a new dream, there is Judy Finelli’s conversation with the briefly retired Lu Yi.  With his new partner Ayla Agarwal, Master Li YU, retired artistic director of San Francisco’s Circus Center, has undertaken the launching of a new circus company, based on the training techniques of Chinese acrobats and styled to be unmistakably American.

The Passing Spectacle in this issue marches through the entire spectrum of entertainment that has been called circus.  Within a matter of just a few weeks my reviewing experiences have ranged from the avant-garde expression of circus at Circus Now’s International Contemporary Circus Exposure to the epitome of traditional circus at Monte Carlo’s International Festival of Circus.  I have seen a good deal of what some might describe as poetic in both venues, so I don’t think either as an advantage in that respect over the other.  Nor do I think one form will ever replace or supplant the other.  They will exist side by side much as modern dance does with classic ballet, each with its own specialized audience and advocates.  Rather than choosing one or the other, I suggest enjoying both, for each has something to lift our spirits and celebrate the human existence.

Once again we have four photo galleries. In addition to Maike Schulz’ collection of images from the Celebration of American Circus, there is a massive collection of images from Monte Carlo, and Lu Yi doing what he does best and Jessica Hentoff’s circus progeny.