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Download The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey into the Wondrous World of the Circus, Past and Present epub

by Duncan Wall

The extraordinary story of a young man’s plunge into the unique and wonderful world of the circus—taking readers deep into circus history and its renaissance as a contemporary art form, and behind the (tented) walls of France’s most prestigious circus school. When Duncan Wall visited his first nouveau cirque as a college student in Paris, everything about it—the monochromatic costumes, the acrobat singing Simon and Garfunkel, the juggler reciting Proust—was captivating. Soon he was waiting outside stage doors, eagerly chatting with the stars, and attending circuses two or three nights a week. So great was his enthusiasm that a year later he applied on a whim to the training program at the École Nationale des Arts du Cirque—and was, to his surprise, accepted. Sometimes scary and often funny, The Ordinary Acrobat follows the (occasionally literal) collision of one American novice and a host of gifted international students in a rigorous regimen of tumbling, trapeze, juggling, and clowning. Along the way, Wall introduces readers to all the ambition, beauty, and thrills of the circus’s long history: from hardscrabble beginnings to Gilded Age treasures, and from twentieth-century artistic and economic struggles to its brilliant reemergence in the form of contemporary circus (most prominently through Cirque du Soleil). Readers meet figures past—the father of the circus, Philip Astley; the larger-than-life P. T. Barnum—and present, as Wall seeks lessons from innovative masters including juggler Jérôme Thomas and clown André Riot-Sarcey. As Wall learns, not everyone is destined to run away with the circus—but the institution fascinates just the same.             Brimming with surprises, outsized personalities, and plenty of charm, The Ordinary Acrobat delivers all the excitement and pleasure of the circus ring itself.

Download The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey into the Wondrous World of the Circus, Past and Present epub
ISBN: 0307271722
ISBN13: 978-0307271723
Category: Photography
Subcategory: Performing Arts
Author: Duncan Wall
Language: English
Publisher: Knopf (February 26, 2013)
Pages: 336 pages
ePUB size: 1666 kb
FB2 size: 1847 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 788
Other Formats: lit docx doc lrf

Why do I love this book? Why have I sent copies to 7 different young people I know who are professional circus artists? Because of PERSPECTIVE. This book details the fascinating history, traditions and evolution of the circus arts in an interesting, highly-readable and ultimately inspiring narrative by a writer who has lived his story. Modern circus is well known to millions around the world largely through familiarity with Cirque du Soleil performances, but few know the story behind the highly refined disciplines we watch with awe inside the tent or theatre. Reading this book gives valuable insight into the past, present and future of circus, and opens a window for spectator and performer alike to appreciate these demanding arts which continue to fascinate and inspire. Highly recommended!
What an entertaining read! Well written, fascinating history, first person experiences - the chapter on being on the trapeze is worth the price of the whole book, lots of circus lore and just plain fun to read! Great memories for those who have been to a circus, and for those who haven't, it will make you want to go.
Duncan Wall knows the circus from the inside out. His perspective on the history and the potential of the art form is meticulously examined using both current and historical references. Well worth the time for both serious historians and casual readers.
I really liked this book. The author manages to blend history, anecdote and a charming self deprecation into a really easy read.
Wall's book is a fine mix of slice of life and history, showing how the circus is and how it was. A nice sourcebook for learning to love the circus... IT'S ALL ON THE INSIDE!
Absolutely adored this book! I highly recommend it to both circus and non-circus lovers alike, or anyone who likes to read. I found the mixture of memoir and history kept the book spinning and always interesting. An over all illumination of circus arts.
Many thanks to the author!
The Ordinary Acrobat is a great book that made me discover how the "New Circus" is nothing new.

Duncan Wall has both an impressive erudition and a physical experience of the circus which make the history very lively.
I wanted to give this a shot because I recently fell in love with Water for Elephants. The best part of the book is that (eventually) you *can* piece together an impression of what the circus is like today. I've taken off two stars because the other reviewers are correct. While the author's personal experience with the circus is in here, so is the history---a lot of history. Some of it is dry, and because it's woven in, the story of the author's experience frequently seems interrupted by History Breaks. It's like watching a great show that keeps getting interrupted with commercials. Even if they're good ones, it's still an interruption. Here's an example from p. 258:

"You must be here for the tour!"
I looked up. Chantal, a small, pert woman in casual Friday attire, stood on the other side of the turnstiles. Her hands were open in a gesture of generosity.
"Welcome to Cirque!" She was smiling.
I beamed back. "It's great to be here!"
And away we went.

**** So now, reader, you are excited, right? The tour is about to begin. But no. Here is how the book continues instead.

IN THE HOLLYWOOD VERSION of the modern circus story, the birth of Soleil in 1984 is often considered the moment when the circus as an art form rushes headlong into modernity . . .

You'll be less disappointed if you know what you're getting into. The story is still worth picking up. Hope this helped.