Flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Benefits of participation in circus arts
Askew, D. (2016) Flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Benefits of participation in circus arts, no. 50.
Past research has emphasised the intrinsic benefits of participation in the arts, including more receptive modes of participation such as attending live performances and visiting museums and galleries, and more active modes such as participation in dance. However, there is a gap in the knowledge in relation to participation in circus arts. In this study, 17 adults currently involved in recreational circus arts, took part in semi-structured interviews that sought to identify the perceived benefits of participation. Qualitative analysis revealed that the benefits of participation in circus arts can be grouped under five categories: physical, psychological, intellectual, social and self-realisation. In addition, potential barriers to participation in circus arts were identified, including perceived ability to participate, physical ability to participate, and gender stereotypes. This study constitutes a starting point in understanding the benefits of participation in circus arts and asserts that the hybrid nature of circus offers a specific combination of benefits that is unique. The evidence provided by this research may be useful to policy-makers and advocacy groups seeking to develop the sector, gain access to funding or infrastructure, or reinforce the legitimacy and value of circus as an art form.