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The ordinary acrobat : a journey into the wondrous world of the circus, past and present

Author: Duncan Wall
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, ©2013.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
When Wall visited his first nouveau cirque as a college student in Paris, everything about it was captivating. So great was his enthusiasm that a year later he applied on a whim to the training program at the École Nationale des Arts du Cirque-- and was, to his surprise, accepted. Follow the collision of one American novice and a host of gifted international students in a rigorous regimen of tumbling, trapeze,
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Duncan Wall; Duncan Wall
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Duncan Wall
ISBN: 9780307271723 0307271722 9780307472267 0307472264
OCLC Number: 795758102
Notes: Includes index.
Description: 322 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Contents: Circophiles --
State of the art --
Ring --
Art school --
Crossroads --
An American juggler in Paris --
Juggling clubs --
King of the Juggle --
Father of the circus --
Tradition --
Physical theater --
What grace, what hardiness --
Catch --
Opera for the eye --
Clown equals funny --
A regal past --
The inner clown --
Circus City --
Popular art --
Cirque de Demain.
Responsibility: Duncan Wall.

Abstract:

When Wall visited his first nouveau cirque as a college student in Paris, everything about it was captivating. So great was his enthusiasm that a year later he applied on a whim to the training program at the École Nationale des Arts du Cirque-- and was, to his surprise, accepted. Follow the collision of one American novice and a host of gifted international students in a rigorous regimen of tumbling, trapeze, juggling, and clowning. Along the way, Wall introduces us to the ambition, beauty, and thrills of the circus's long history.

Describes the author's novice plunge into the abstract and intensely competitive world of the contemporary circus while tracing the history of circus performance and the current Cirque du Soleil-fueled renewal of circus popularity.

"The extraordinary story of a young man's plunge into the unique and wonderful world of the circus--taking readers deep into circus history and its renaissance as a contemporary art form, and behind the (tented) walls of France's most prestigious circus school. When Duncan Wall visited his first nouveau cirque as a college student in Paris, everything about it--the monochromatic costumes, the acrobat singing Simon and Garfunkel, the juggler reciting Proust--was captivating. Soon he was waiting outside stage doors, eagerly chatting with the stars, and attending circuses two or three nights a week. So great was his enthusiasm that a year later he applied on a whim to the training program at the École Nationale des Arts du Cirque--and was, to his surprise, accepted. Sometimes scary and often funny, The Ordinary Acrobat follows the (occasionally literal) collision of one American novice and a host of gifted international students in a rigorous regimen of tumbling, trapeze, juggling, and clowning. Along the way, Wall introduces readers to all the ambition, beauty, and thrills of the circus's long history: from hardscrabble beginnings to Gilded Age treasures, and from twentieth-century artistic and economic struggles to its brilliant reemergence in the form of contemporary circus (most prominently through Cirque du Soleil). Readers meet figures past--the father of the circus, Philip Astley; the larger-than-life P. T. Barnum--and present, as Wall seeks lessons from innovative masters including juggler Jerome Thomas and clown Andre Riot-Sarcey. As Wall learns, not everyone is destined to run away with the circus--but the institution fascinates just the same." -- Book jacket.

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