Outgrowing the ‘ta-dah!’ moment in contemporary circus

The pause for applause after completing a trick regularly punctuates circus shows – but is it impeding the art form’s evolution?

Circus Oz 2015, But Wait…There’s More, performers Ben Lewis (top) and Sharon Gruenert. Photo by Scott Hone.

The “ta-dah!” moment – the completion of a trick followed by a pause for applause before moving on to the next routine – is a common element of contemporary circus. A carry-over from the art form’s traditional roots, such forced applause points are an opportunity for the audience to express their delight or awe – but according to Kim Kaos, a circus artist and teacher turned academic and dramaturg, the ta-dah moment also has the potential to damage the art form’s development.

Unlock Padlock Icon

Like this content?

Become a Member and unlock unlimited Access today

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts