What is the circus? – the Result

The survey has been closed, check out what our audience answered!

Wild entertainment or a serious art form? Having had to change a lot in recent years, the word ‘circus’ meant many things from old-fashioned animal numbers to abstract movement theatre, from spectacle to farce. Everybody involved wonders these days: what does the circus mean to the artists and spectators today?

Throughout September we ran a survey in collaboration with circustalk.com to find out how circus-goers and performers saw the art of the circus. The majority of the respondents work in the industry, so the answers offer a unique insight into what circus professionals think about the circus.

The question was ‘Imagine that you could only use five words to describe the circus as an art form. What would those five words be?’ All respondents provided 5 stand-alone words as answers. Here you can see all the answers visualized in a word cloud, where size indicates how common a given word was. In general ‘creative’, ‘passionate’ and ‘inclusive’ were the answers that came up the most, painting a picture of a buzzing circus life.

5-WORDS categorized the answers by meaning, so now we can dig deeper into what exact words were used to express the most common sentiments. It is surprising to see how prominent the community aspect of the circus is. Another takeaway from the answers is that many people find self-actualization in the art of circus, either in liberation or empowerment. Long gone are the days when the circus was thought of as sheer entertainment. The circus seems to have taken its place amongst the more self-conscious social expressions of our age.

Do professionals have insights different from the laymen? Naturally, yes. If we exclude the 5 most common answers (that both segments, professionals and spectators shared) we can see that the words ‘passionate’, ‘hard-working’ and ‘evolving’ were exclusive to people who work in the industry.

CircusTalk.com is the central online resource for the international circus community, facilitating much-needed communication between artists and companies. Its mission includes promoting and presenting the circus to the wider public as a respectable art form, connecting the international circus community, and cherishing the rich distinctiveness of performers, acts, performance levels, and venues. In their own words, CircusTalk “chooses to celebrate the industry’s diversity by embracing the entire circus family under one virtual tent.”

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Category: Closed questions

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