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Study Guide | Theater

Carnival of the Animals

Art Forms

The word acrobatics comes from the ancient Greek words akros meaning “highest” or “outermost” and bat meaning, "walking,” so the earliest form of acrobatics referred to “high walking.” Acrobatics has long referred to any bodily movement that requires a person to propel him or herself through the air, exhibiting in the process speed, grace, balance, physical agility, and motor coordination. Acrobatic arts have been around for thousands of years, both as a performing art and a competitive sport. Art and murals from as early as 2000 BC depicting acrobats and acrobatic feats have been found on the Island of Crete.


Multimedia Projections

Projections have become an increasingly popular production element in live performance. With the invention of the Linnebach projector in 1917, projections became a theatrical tool. In the US, scenic and lighting designers such as Jo Mielziner began experimenting with them in the 1940s, most notably in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Allegro (1947). Today, with the ability to store vast amounts of content on computers and instantly manipulate and layer images, the possibilities are endless. Circa uses imaginative projections to help create scenic environments.


Physical Theater

In physical theater, performers use their bodies in inventive ways to tell a story. Many forms of physical theater use movement as the primary way to tell the story, rather than words. Some forms of physical theater that students might be familiar with are mime, clowning, slapstick, puppetry, theatrical dance, and acrobatics. Circa incorporates many of these forms in Carnival of the Animals. The show begins with elements of slapstick that continue throughout, along with spectacular acrobatic feats, as well as complex movement work that helps transform performers’ bodies into a menagerie of animals.



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