Circus acts generally perform with physical or comedic skills. The can be roving (found here) on stage shows. The general combine balance or object manipulation.
Circus Acts bring colour, activity and excitement to events. They can perform a vast array of skills – See below. Circus Acts can engage with the audience up close or perform on stage. Physical abilities lie at the core of circus acts art form. Circus Acts can be easily customised to suit any theme. A simple custom change and “voila”.. you have your theme!
Circus skills which involve balancing or maintaining equilibrium. The term applies equally to acts in which the performer balances on a piece of equipment or a prop and acts in which the performer balances a prop on a part of their body.
According to wikipedia the following is a good list:
In Ancient Rome, the circus was a building for the exhibition of horse and chariot races, equestrian shows, staged battles, gladiatorial combat and displays of (and fights with) trained animals. The first circus in the city of Rome was the Circus Maximus, in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills.
Philip Astley is credited with being the ‘father’ of the modern circus when he opened the first circus in 1768 in England. Early circuses were almost exclusively demonstrations of equestrian skills with a few other types of acts to link the horsemanship performances. Performances developed significantly through the next fifty years, with large scale theatrical battle reenactments becoming a significant feature. The ‘traditional’ format, whereby a ringmaster introduces a varied selection of acts that mostly perform choreographed acts to traditional music, developed in the latter part of 19th century and continued almost universally to be the main style of circus up until the 1970s.
The ‘traditional’ large tents, commonly known as ‘Big Tops’ were introduced in the mid 19th century as touring circuses superseded static venues. These tents eventually became the most common venue and remain so to the present day.
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