Circus company Upswing was created to give space for new diverse voices; now in their 15th year, they’re broadening their practice to promote the work of emerging artists as well as continuing to produce their own shows. Circus Flavours is a growing showcase that every year introduces and supports new artists in outdoor spaces.
This year the showcase was performed live at both Royal Docks and All Points East, and has been specially filmed by Dan Martin, a former dancer, to continue to amplify the work of these bold, diverse talents. The film features four short pieces of work ranging across aerial straps, aerial hoop, flying pole and hand-to-hand balancing.
Each piece is introduced by the artist, starting with Imani Vital, a French performer with roots in Benin and Dominica. Imani focuses her piece, performed on aerial straps, on feeling good, being in the moment and being in tune with your positive emotions. She is followed by hand-to-hand balancing duo Anesta Mathurin and Tobias Peppersack from the UK and Germany, who create a performance of strength and suppressed primal physicality.
Next is Joana Dias who takes inspiration from the Portugese word saudade – an intense, melancholy longing for something that is absent – in her aerial hoop performance. Finally, Zaki Musa from Singapore strips back the glammed-up appearance he usually puts forward in queer and cabaret spaces to perform just as himself on flying pole.
Vicki Amedume said, “One of the reasons for Upswing’s inception was to nurture and celebrate the ideas, skills and talents of global majority artists in circus. Upswing aimed to create a space where these artists, including myself, could create work that was an authentic expression of themselves as creative individuals. This film attempts to capture the beautiful work and spirit of some of the artists in the Upswing family as they return to performance after the break of the pandemic.”
Upswing, a diverse led contemporary circus company founded by Vicki Amedume in 2006, are committed to exploring relevant and thought-provoking themes across all their work. Their recent shows include outdoor show and Catch Me, which was also presented digitally, and family shows The Ramshackle House and Bedtime Stories. Upswing’s productions and creative engagement programmes – which includes Circus in Libraries and Circus for Older People – aim to unite people from different backgrounds through new narratives. They also provide classes and consultancy for companies including the National, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Cameron Mackintosh, for whom they supplied performers as well consultancy for Barnum.
Circus Flavours is released here at 5pm on 23rd August 2021.