List of circus skills

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Circus arts)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Circus skills are a group of pursuits that have been performed as entertainment in circus, sideshow, busking, or variety, vaudeville or music hall shows. Most circus skills are still being performed today. Many are also practised by non-performers as a hobby.

Circus schools and instructors use various systems of categorization to group circus skills by type. Systems that have attempted to formally organize circus skills into pragmatic teaching groupings include the Gurevich system[1] (the basis of the Russian Circus School's curriculum) and the Hovey Burgess system.

Hovey Burgess system[edit]

The Hovey Burgess pedagogy divides circus skills into three categories, each subdivided into three skill levels.

Category Preliminary skills Essential skills Diversified skills
Juggling Balancing objects Toss juggling: balls, rings, clubs Gyroscopic juggling: devil sticks, diabolo, plate spinning, etc.
Equilibristics Headstands and hand balancing Balancing: on rolling objects (unicycle, rola bola, etc.), on "stilting" objects (stilts, freestanding ladder, etc.) and human columns. Rigging: trapeze, horizontal bar, slackwire, tight wire, etc.
Vaulting Jumping Turning the body along its long, medium and short axes Catapults

Hovey Burgess has been known to compare his system to Newton's third law (i.e., "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction"). Vaulting is concerned with action; juggling is concerned with reaction; equilibrium is the intersection of action and reaction.


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.

Object manipulation[edit]


Circus and sideshow[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Classification of Circus Techniques" by Hovey Burgess. The Drama Review: TDR, Vol. 18, No. 1, Popular Entertainments (Mar., 1974), pp. 65-70. doi:10.2307/1144863.
  2. ^ "Aerial Acts". Flying High Circus, Florida State University. Retrieved 13 November 2012.

Further reading[edit]