The Ethos of Circus and Our Trybe Today.

When you hear the word ‘circus’, what comes to mind? Clowns, acrobats, tightrope walkers, and maybe even a lion tamer?

Source: Victoria & Albert Museum

Although circus has undergone massive transformations as an art form and industry, few people know how it started. For instance, Philip Astley,  who is widely regarded as the Father of Modern Circus, was actually an equestrian. He started off by showing off tricks on horseback and then evolved to include acrobats, jugglers, and clowns in his performing acts. The word ‘circus’ also comes from Latin, meaning ‘circle’ or ‘ring'. A defining character of the circus is its nomadic, pioneering spirit.

The poetic version of circus we love to tell at #Trybe:

Circus started out as a band of misfits who came together because they wanted to find a place where they belonged. Society eschewed them for a variety of reasons but they knew that together, as a team, they would always be able to find shelter and feed each other. Thus, they used and developed their physical and mental talents to make money. They were the original street performers who developed tricks and feats of strength and agility, like juggling, handstands, contortion, and acts of illusion (commonly known as magic tricks today). Gathering influences from athletics and theater, the circus evolved to include clowning, horsemanship, and a wide variety of ‘exotic’ acts like tightrope walking (which led to trapeze and other aerial arts) and acrobatics/tumbling.

Source: Encylopedia Britannica

Source: Encylopedia Britannica

Now, the circus had a place for everybody but in order to learn these skills, one had to become part of the circus.

There were very few formal establishments to learn circus from. Being a multi skilled performer was also crucial. To this day, professional circus performers are still required to study at least two skill disciplines, like unicycling and trapeze or tightrope walking and acrobatics, and learn how to do everything from setting up lighting to running a show under a tight budget.

One had to follow the circus and become part of the family to learn these skills.

Performing was both necessary as a means of income and as a means of personal transformation. While the nomadic nature of circus was driven by necessity, #Trybe believes deeply in its culture. Circus started because a group of people wanted to activate their purpose in life through movement. They did it out of necessity but evolved in a creative way to respond to the world around them and moved beyond negative perceptions to the wildly enthralling and highly respected theatrical productions we see today.

The spirit of circus lives today because movement innovation is the core passion and community is their purpose.

Movement is our passion and finding a #trybe is our purpose. We are striving to provide a space for all bodies, all cultures, and all skill sets to get together and learn from each other.

No matter where you come from, we have a place for you at #Trybe.