Delve: National Circus Festival of Ireland
Participant: Danielle Reck
Dates: 9th-11th August 2018
View Danielle Reck ISACS' profile
The curtains have closed and the dust has settled on The National Circus Festival of Ireland but the celebration of joy, colour and energy is still vivid in my mind.
Being selected by ISACS to take part on the DELVE18 programme was a fantastic opportunity for me to explore the broad circus and street arts culture that Ireland has to offer as well as giving me a unique platform put myself out there into the big wide world of performance.
At first, I will admit I was extremely nervous. The level of ability and performance was no doubt going to be amazing from the plethora of incredible acts on the programme and I was impressed by who was going to be in attendance. How would 'lil old me' fit in?
I never for a moment thought that I would be immersed into such an inclusive and welcoming environment. It became very clear very quickly what the entire festival was about. It was a celebration of people from all over the world coming together to declare their love for what they do and the community that they share it with. No airs or graces, just one, big, creative, fun loving family.
Picture by the Boudoir Girls.
The quality of the shows over the course of the weekend was of an incredibly high standard.
On arrival, myself and my DELVE18 buddy Nicola Moran were treated to a viewing of. 'Pss Pss' by 'Compagnie Baccalà' the most beautifully simplistic piece of sheer playful joy and childlike wonder that I have ever seen. The characters engagement and ability to ensnare an entire audience with a simple action, sound or facial expression was perfection.
This production set the standard for what was to follow. The 'Circus Siamsa' was a spectacle of fun and entertainment for all ages.
The caliber of work and ability on display was amazing, from the charismatic master of ceremonies Logy, or the incredible talents of young juggler Sagi Bracha, to the gentle and beautiful act by Yosuke Ikeda, or off the wall antics of the Greenman & his beautiful bride Neil. The acrobalance work by Ali & Henrik particularly inspired me along with the snippet of work by Aisling & Ronan from their production 'How to Square a Circle'. The night held something to catch and inspire everyone's imaginations.
Another show which particularly grabbed my attention was the award-winning performance of 'Spit' by Angelique Ross, which I found to be a very evocative piece. A commentary on woman's place in society and how we spend our lives teetering on the edge of a man’s world and what happens when we finally jump?
The section dealing with travelling the unsure high wire across a void of distance and human reactions to deal with an unplanned or unviable pregnancy was particularly moving.
A production which I thoroughly enjoyed was the premiere of 'Strong Women Science'
a wonderfully endearing and interactive piece educating and inspiring young people about scientific methods through the use of circus activities.
The final performance of the weekend was a work in progress piece by the newly formed 'Sìolta Collective'. A collaborative group of acro and manipulation performers working under the direction of Paddy Waters to create a new inspirational work. This piece was breathtaking. Each performer an individual style coming together to create one well-oiled machine. The trust and rapport between the ensemble were beautifully articulated and combined with the playful yet poignant nature of the work made for a very interesting show. I look forward to the finished production in the future.
Over the course of the weekend, I attended three talks held in the Kerry County Museum hosted by ISACS which I found to be very informative. 'The Share Open Circus Forum' which was a relaxed open floor style conversation based around dreams and how we make them was particularly interesting. The talk, facilitated by Lucy Medlycott of ISACS became a critical response process of a new work in progress by talented performer Tony Mahon using the 'Liz Lerman method' where by the group gives feedback on the artist’s work in a supportive and uplifting manner. This process is designed to leave the artist eager and motivated to get back to work and continue creating their piece.
During the 'Youth Circus Focus' hosted in partnership with Galway Community Circus the topic of 'peer to peer' teaching methods within the Youth Circus environment was discussed openly amongst the group. Teacher training methods and means were also discussed and this has inspired me to do further research into up-skilling my own teaching methods.
The final meeting 'Know Your Rights and Responsibilities' was of particular interest to me as the ongoing annual insurance battle weighs heavy on the industry as a whole.
Three guest speakers, Joe Mannix (solicitor), Michael Sheehy (Alert Liability Management) and Peter Boland (Alliance for insurance reform) gave insight and observations on the current insurance crisis within the Circus sector as well as guidance on how to deal with the outcome of a claim.
Workshops & Training
Over the course of the weekend I attended some of the training sessions which I thoroughly enjoyed. I wanted to experience some of the aerial disciplines that I had never tried before. I attended a rope workshop with practitioner and performer Rachel NÍ Bhraonáin which I enjoyed and would love to explore further. I also took part in an acro balance workshop which I also loved and since have been training more and looking into more options to further my limited skills in this field.
Due to the busy schedule of the weekend, I unfortunately, didn't get to attend any of the Circus skills workshops but I would like to return and do this in my own time in the future.
Lastly, I would like to thank ISACS, 'The Arts Council of Ireland' and 'The National Circus Festival of Ireland' for giving me this fantastic opportunity. It has broadened my eyes in terms of the types of performance styles and levels that our country has to offer. I would firmly recommend the DELVE programme to other ISACS members in the future.
I will no doubt be returning in 2019 to further my skills and who knows, maybe I'll even give the Renegade a go!