The contemporary circus acts is a recent movement. Originating in the 1970s, in Australia, Canada, France, the West Coast of the United States, and the United Kingdom. Contemporary circus combines traditional circus skills and theatrical techniques to convey a story or theme. Compared with the traditional circus, the contemporary circus tends to focus more on the overall aesthetic impact, on character and story development. They also lean heavily on lighting design, original music, and costume design to convey thematic or narrative content.
The best known success story of a contemporary circus is Cirque du Soleil. This Canadian circus company has estimated annual revenue now exceeding US$810 million