Symposium of Circus Thinking - Panel Discussion
QUEERNESS and CIRCUS
hosted by ANIA UPSTILL
Riveting discussion around queerness and circus will be had by our amazing group of panelists are: Charles Batson, Ess Hödlmoser, Eric McGill, and Jennifer Miller.
Meet the panelists:
Charles R. Batson, Professor at Union College, Schenectady, NY, and immediate Past President of the American Council for Québec Studies, has taught and published widely on French and Francophone cultural production and performance, including circus, dance, and theatre. His teaching, research, and personal interests related to intersections of circus studies, queer studies, and Québec studies have led him to publications such as his co-edited volume Cirque Global: Quebec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries (McGill-Queens, 2016) as well as to co-directing the Circus and its Others research initiative. He also has recently launched with CircusTalk the series “Journeys Through Queer Circus.”
Ess (they/them) is an award-winning trans nonbinary circus artist and writer from T:karonto (Toronto), Canada. Their work uses contortion and aerial straps vocabulary to examine the body in transitory states, and the fine line between what we deem beautiful and what we deem grotesque. Ess’s artistic rigour and creative drive has brought their work international recognition on the world stages like Cirque de Demain, France’s Got Talent, the 6th International China Festival & the Moulin Rouge. Ess maintains a small but mighty catalogue of ongoing writing projects: their DIY zine, Writing the Circus, unpacks contemporary circus arts through a lens of Disability studies, critical race theory, and queer theory; their hardcover coffeetable book Slow Circus: VACUUM looks at the relationship between that piece of circus art, gender performativity, normalcy, transness, and more; and they have recently been awarded a grant by the Toronto Arts Council to continue developing a written project centring around their experiences performing with Troy James at the 40th Cirque de Demain festival.
Eric McGill is a Canadian trapeze artist based in the United Kingdom. Eric started his acrobatic career at the age of seven as a competitive trampolinist. In 2010 Eric graduated from the National Circus School in Montreal. With his swinging trapeze and aerial straps acts he has worked in cabarets, big tented shows and large outdoor festivals around the world including Germany, Mexico, Australia, Canada, and the UK to name a few. From his home base in Wales, Eric has also created numerous solo works exploring the experience of doing trapeze using POV camera work, projections and virtual reality.
Jennifer MillerJennifer Miller is the director and founder of Circus Amok – a one ring, no animal, queer as fuck, free circus extravaganza that has been touring the parks of New York annually since 1994. She is the writer and director of Cracked Ice and The Golden Racket. Besides touring solo shows internationally she works with a myriad of choreographers and performance artists including Jennifer Monson and Vaginal Crème Davis. She is the recipient of an OBIE, a “Bessie”, and an Ethyl Eichelberger Award, along with numerous grants from the NEA, NYSCA, DCA, MAP, NYFA and others. She had a 10 year stint at Coney Island Sideshow by the Seashore. She is a Professor of Performance at Pratt Institute.