Editor’s Fanfare Vol. VII, No. I

Looking Into the Future with Clear Eyes

As we have noted in the Monte Carlo sidebar, the Circus Fans Association of America will be hosting its second international gathering of circus enthusiasts and professionals during the summer of 2019. According to the official announcement of the event, it will bring together “circus fans, producers, historians, clowns, youth circus school participants, model builders, performers, musicians, carousel organ builders and circus alumni groups from all over the world to take a comprehensive look at the current state of the circus arts and industry.”

Whereas a similar conclave held this past summer, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, seemed tilted toward amateur circus, with events mainly featuring amateur and non-traditional circus, the Summit of 2015 seemed titled toward the traditional circus.

Since it is called a “summit” rather than say a convention, the suggestion is that it will involve the highest level of officials who have come together to solve a common problem, in this case the future of the circus.

What I would like to see in the 2019 version, therefore, is a gathering that brings the highest-level of officials from both the traditional and non-traditional circus together and looks at the future of the circus in a clear-eyed manner, dealing with the realities of today in ways that have often been ignored in the past, but which nonetheless have brought us to this juncture regarding the state of the circus. That means recognizing the reality of the circus in today’s world, where it is today, how it got there and what direction is seems to be heading.

That means there must be representatives from what I have decided to call the Post Modern American Circus. This would include such companies as 7 Fingers and Èloize. If it is impossible to have actual performances from such groups, at least we can have their representatives who can discuss their approach to circus and their methods of creation. These two companies are the most professional, the most successful, and the most creative of the many companies involved in the Post Modern Circus. But there are many more, many of which are based in the United States. The international circus festival that has been held for the past several summers in Montreal, Canada has no problem filling a week’s worth of events that have more to do with the circus’ future than its past. So it can’t be too difficult to find participants who could bring that mentality and creativity to the Summit.

I hope the organizers do not lose this opportunity to make a real difference in how we think about and perceive the circus’ future. Without the participation I am suggesting the picture painted by the Summit will be incomplete and improvident, as well as inaccurate and inconclusive.