Circus – Jarred Dewey’s life’s work

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Jarred Dewey is an acclaimed Australian circus performer who has performed his mesmerising acrobatic and contortion acts for audiences around the world, and he is part of a fantastic performance at the Ipswich Civic Centre in September.
Currently, Jarred is working for Brisbane based circus company CIRCA, touring with their latest show ‘Peepshow’, which comes to Ipswich Friday 6th September.
Jarred has the drive and the passion for Circus and explains that it is a uniquely different way to make a living.

LQ: When did you realise Circus was your passion, and why contortion?
“I grew up doing gymnastics but I was terrible at it because I was very flexible and very weak. Then I saw a circus show with a contortionist in it and I was just like “wow” this is what I want to do with my life.
“Later, I moved to Melbourne and studied at the National Institute of Circus Art. So I have a Bachelor degree in Circus and I specialise in contortion handstands and swinging trapeze. I’m not as bendy as I used to be as I’m a bit older now but I do perform contortion in the show and I perform contortion on the trapeze as well.

LQ: What is ‘Peepshow’ all about?

“The premise of Peepshow is looking and being seen, like voyeurism. How we explore that is we invite you, the audience, to watch us, the acrobats, and we are conscious of you watching us.
“We play with these themes of mirrors and these ideas of looking at ourselves, at symmetry, knowing what the audience is looking at and what they are feeling.
“The show is in two halves, the first half is much more avant-garde cabaret, very performative, very much to the audience. The second half is cross over into the mirror and it’s a very pulsating, gritty side of what you’ve just seen. It’s a thirty-five minute piece of music that is an evolving club track and we enter the space and exit the space and things are revealed.”

LQ: How does living in Berlin, renowned for its creative communities, compare to working and performing Peepshow here?

“Audiences in Berlin and Australia respond very differently to cabaret and the circus performance. Because Berlin has such a rich history in cabaret they love it, and because Australia has such a diverse and wide range of circus acts they truly enjoy that.
“It’s great to see how each audience responds to each segment of the show.”

LQ: Why do you think Circus continues to draw crowds?

“I think circus work is accessible to everyone. It is not a narrative. We’re not telling you a linear story, but there is an abstract logic to every show and an impetus to why we’re doing what we are doing on stage. Also, Circus is innately entertaining. You can’t take the thrill and danger out of seeing massive towers built by acrobats or someone flying through the air and being caught. There is this sense of danger that the audience can’t get enough of. I think that’s why circus is so successful. Particularly CIRCA, it really pushes the boundaries of what Circus is.”

LQ: How do you build a circus show?

“Usually Yaron, our artistic director, would come in and he would pose a few questions and we would often start with task-based making.
“He might say ‘I’m interested in atoms colliding, how can we make that acrobatic with that kind of feeling?
“ We would start to improvise and really start to explore these ideas and then he would start to bring the music into it. It is a truly organic and quite fast process and really enjoyable. When you’re on the floor in the studio working with your fellow acrobats and these great ideas start working, then yeah you know you’re onto something good.”

LQ: What has been the most enjoyable aspect of performing Peepshow?

It’s a very challenging show to perform because both parts require very different mental states. I really enjoy the beginning of the show and the first half of the show. I do a trapeze number to a great piece of music and I really enjoy that moment on stage.
“I have to say, the second half of the show as a whole is my favourite. I can’t give too much away but the second half of the show is a brilliant piece of contemporary circus that is really pushing the boundaries physically but also what we expect Circus to be.