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A Glimpse Backstage at Phare…

Editor’s Note: This blog post is originally published at Phare Cambodian Circus’ blog. You can read the original piece at this link.
Ever wondered what really goes on backstage at a show? So have we. We decided to poll our artists and get some of their backstage pre-performance routines to share with you. Many of their show preparations won’t surprise you, but there are some interesting things you may not have thought of.There is a unanimous necessity that everyone has probably thought of: warming up! Hurling yourself through the air, balancing yourself or someone else on your hands, etc. requires getting your muscles plenty warm before walking onto a stage in front of hundreds of people. To attempt performing “cold” would mean failed stunts – and most importantly – injury. Performers arrive 2-3 hours before the show to prepare the stage and to get warm. This means stretching, and always, lots of handstands…©Aaron Joel Santos

As you might have guessed, our musicians (Vanthan pictured here) often get their minds focused with some headphones on to get in the proper mood…backstage (2)


Next up is the make-up. Depending on the show and the costumes involved, make-up can take up to an hour. We have a make-up artist and performers help one another with body paint and drawings…

©Aaron Joel Santos

Artists often must step outside to quickly re-apply before going back onstage – it’s hot in Cambodia – sweat and smearing of paint are a part life for the artists… And the lipstick has to be perfect!…

backstage (4)backstage (5)

Lastly, a surprising favorite once the make-up is complete is the word famous “selfie.” And what better way to get in the mood to perform than be your own audience right before the show? And when you come see a production, you can get a pic with the artists as well right after every show…  Don’t be shy – they love the camera and you’ll have your own selfie to post. Share in the fun with us on facebook:

©Aaron Joel Santos




The Word on Circus: March 2014

In this March edition of The Word on Circus, ASCA wish to focus on several social circus organizations that wish to make a difference in the Middle East and South Asia. What they are doing are nothing short of miracles. You can also find the links to these stories on our Facebook page.


In Pictures: ‘Circus Behind the Wall’

” ‘Circus Behind the Wall’ (the first show produced by the school) talked about the separation of families and lovers. We played behind the Wall on the stage. Internationally we perform politically to tell our stories,” Abdallah said. Politics is in our lives, but when we perform here we also need to make people laugh and forget. It is very important to see a child smile. Palestine needs a lot of things, and one of them is circus.”

Spreading hope and fostering inclusion

After starting out in the summer of 2006 as a tiny circus group in Ramallah, the Palestinian Circus School has long since expanded its activities to the entire West Bank: today, young people learn dance, acrobatics and performance skills in Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin and Bethlehem, at the Al Faraa and Jalazon refugee camps, and of course at the headquarters in Birzeit.

Afghanistan’s circus gives children fun with a future

“Left on the street, kids turn to bad things, becoming suicide bombers or street thugs,” said Murtaza Nowrozi, an 18-year-old juggler from the western province of Herat. “It’s better for them to go to school and join programs like this.”


Circus Troupe Tries to Lift Spirits of Syrian Refugees

“Of course our goal is not to be circus artists, but to be in a safe place for two hours every day,” says Topi Hurtig, the Finnish circus trainer in perhaps the most novel social program to rise from the maelstrom surrounding Syria’s civil war. “We use circus as a way of improving people’s psychological well being.”



The World on Circus: December 2013

Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal Ladies on The Ellen Show. December 3.

The Word on Circus: November 2013

Performers without Borders recently posted a video from its trip to Granada, Nica, in early 2013.

Brattleboro native’s documentary reveals beauty, art of the circus industry. November 1, 2013. By Brattleboro Reformer newspaper.

[Angela Snow] said her film follows five top circus acts from around the world to the Monte-Carlo Circus Festival, which she described as the industry’s equivalent of The Sundance Film Festival or the Olympics. She said it lifts the veil on the history, culture and behind-the-scenes life of the circus on an international scale through interviews with the founder of the Big Apple Circus, the owner of Ringling Bros. Circus, and the artistic director of Cirque du Soleil.

Watch the trailer:

Visit the World Circus website:

A unique circus school in Palestine. November 14, 2013. On

For Shadi Zmorrod, it began as a love for juggling. Soon, the Palestinian Circus School took shape, and now he is aiming for a wider social impact.

Circus performer brings message performance to Northfield. November 2, 2013. On Glencoe News.

Born in Awasa, Ethiopia, Tamrat and other children in the village had little to no food to eat. At the age of 8, Meshu and his peers formed the Debub Nigat (Southern Dawn) Circus. The circus performed in the town market as a way to earn money for food.

The Circus Project. November 29, 2013. The Oregonian.

“Gradually, I got a lot stronger. I could do pull-ups, which was really exciting! As things have progressed, I have more confidence in the way that I carry myself, not only up in the air but also just in the world around me.”

Fruit Flies at Sydney Opera House

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus will be performing at the Sydney Opera House in January 2014. For more information click here.

The Word on Circus: October 2013

Check out this more than amazing performance by Cirque du Soleil’s Totem on the Jay Leno Tonight Show:


The Word on Circus: September 2013

Studio to Boost Dance, Circus Skill September 9, 2013.

Christchurch could become the dance and circus capital of Australasia if a custom-designed performance and studio space included in rebuild plans comes to fruition. The proposed performance and studio complex could draw circus performers back to the city and provide a home for Christchurch’s nearly 400 dance groups, many of whom have been operating out of garages and sheds since the earthquakes.

Remembering the Lewis Brothers Circus based in Jackson, Michigan

Michigan Radio. September 5, 2013.

In 1929, Paul and Mae Lewis founded the Lewis Bros. Circus. The traveling circus was based in Jackson, Michigan and traveled throughout the state. They even went to Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, dazzling small towns with exotic creatures and acrobats. Grace Wolbrink has put together a collection of stories from the Lewis family.

Magic in Motion 

A multimedia styled video

San Jose Mercury News. September 3, 2013.

In opening a number of South Bay performances, the internationally acclaimed Circus Vargas troupe recently transformed the Great Mall parking lot into a magical landscape of color, supplying gravity-defying flights and waves of delirious delight…As a photographer, I was allowed backstage access into a contemplative world of the men, women and talented kids who treat the public to astonishing athleticism, physical beauty and acrobatic prowess.

Oakland’s Grassroots Circus Acts Both Modern and Retro

San Francisco Chronicle. September 3, 2013.

The acrobats don’t work for Ringling Bros., and they aren’t paid, either. These performers have come from across the United States to join “tech circus,” a grassroots movement that is making Oakland a national force in the highly technical discipline of circus arts.

The Word on Circus is a collection of monthly posts with links to online content relating to circus and performance. If you spot something online that you think others might find of interest, just send us a link and we will add it to this dedicated blog page. Contact ASCA on