The Dangers of Circus and How it Hits Closer to Home: Now More Than Ever


Words from The Editor


Image from Una Van Brandenburg

Image from Una Van Brandenburg


The circus in the past 3 years has integrated itself online more than ever... 


Before, shows used the internet as a tool to sell tickets or inform people about shows but now, with the emergent of social media and the world connecting more so than usual, circus utilizes the power of connection to illuminate the people behind the curtain. The act of circus has stereotypically been used to “dazzle” and “be majestic” to lead the audience into a world of superpowers and beyond human capabilities. Recently, contemporary circus artists have played with this juxtaposition, creating shows that relay on human connection of “regular” things but with a twist. The troupe, Acrobatic Conundrum comes to mind, performing dynamic rope feats all whilst wearing blue jeans and simple white T shirts. Professional artists and companies use Snapchat and Instagram to not just portray thier lives on stage, but to show themselves. I can at anytime open the app and see what an ENC audition looks like, or how artists spend time between sets on a boat cruise getting warmed up.

We are now more than ever connected to the humans behind circus arts.

As an outsider, an amateur, I follow FB groups such as Safety and Aerial Arts (SAA) or Aerial Workshops religiously. I see folks like Alex Allan or Jenny Atomic living their lives traveling the world and teaching workshops. I read various professionals’ comments from a range of thoughts and opinions regarding rigging from trees, the watering down of circus (COUGH “trapeze yoga”) or what their favorite dynamic moves are. I can watch Emiliano Ron’s various coffee video journal and live vicariously thru him while he travels the world with his Circus Concepts bag.

We are fucking connected. Maybe perhaps uncomfortably so.


I woke up this morning to a post on SAA about a circus artists passing away during a show. Something that anyone who’s done a show has prepared for, but never dreams of it happening. Kind of like a school shooting drill. You’re even uncomfortable during the rehearsal because you can’t fathom it happening to you.



And for a family it happened to them. And circus folks are sending condolences while non-circus folks write dim witted jokes on work hazards. . .FB groups are readily questioning “what went wrong” even before the names were released. The safety hive was ready to “fix” the problem even before all the details were released.

And then the name was released.


Yann Arnaud



I did a quick instagram search and there he was. A recent post just days before the infamous show. And then I see his family. I and hundreds of thousands of people can see his face without the iconic CDS makeup, or his family spending time at the beach. I can tap a photo and be connected to his wife’s instagram where it’s clearer than ever her family is her whole world.


I want to use the powers of social media to send my condolences. I want to let the family know that even the most beginner of students look up to the careers of CDS and are ROOTING for them. The work of a circus artists has so much glitter and magic around it, the audience gets the luxury to forget how dangerous it is.

It’s a funny thing, to publically wish privacy. But I just want the professionals who do this work, the work I myself can ignorantly idolize, that I SEE you. It’s the reason I save up for my $90 tickets because you and the crew deserve the health benefits and life insurance of your job.






PS- if there is a GoFundMe for the family, please leave the link in the comment section below.



Dana Orr2 Comments