Adapting Human Performance Techniques, Illusion Aesthetics, and Specialized Apparatus from the World of Stage Conjuring to Contemporary Circus Disciplines – Year two

The vast majority of performance techniques, illusion aesthetics, and specialized apparatuses used by stage conjurors are still unknown and remain unexplored by the circus world. The tacit knowledge that magicians exchange amongst themselves is rarely transferred to members outside of their subculture, which leads to creative stagnation in their communities and beyond. The purpose of this project is to create an intensive and sustained collaboration between North American illusion experts and elite circus artists to produce new physical vocabulary for new equipment. The prototypes produced will be disciplinary hybrids. The specific magic/circus combinations proposed for this project are: 1) manipulation techniques for an optical illusion wheel apparatus, 2) movement vocabulary for a color-changing aerial rope apparatus, and 3) movement vocabulary for a color-changing silks apparatus. Cirque du Soleil, as industrial partner, and graduates of Montreal’s National Circus School will be the first to use and diffuse the physical vocabulary and special apparatuses developed. The collaboration of magic and circus specialists will be facilitated through the organization of an international academic and industry conference held in Montreal in the summer 2020.

Faculty Supervisor:

Louis Patrick Leroux


Joseph Culpepper


Cirque du Soleil




Arts, entertainment and recreation


Concordia University



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