Linda Corazza handbalancing performance. Image: Kurt Bellamy.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust 9 Oct 2023

Linda Corazza

Supported by an Emerging Artist Grant, Linda will undertake a mentorship in hand balancing with The 7 Fingers in Montreal, Canada.

One of our newest grantees, circus artist Linda Corazza is a specialist in the acrobatic art of hand balancing; the practice of holding an inverted body shape using the hands and arms as the main support.

A recent graduate of Australia's National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), Linda has achieved Australia's highest qualification in the art form and has now set her sights on advancing her practice abroad.

Supported by an Emerging Artist Grant, Linda will travel to Montreal, Canada to undertake a mentorship in hand balancing with The 7 Fingers, a company renowned for challenging the norms and traditions of circus artistry.

Tell us about your artistic practice.

My artistic practice can be best defined as contemporary circus art. It spans both performing arts, performing in my specialty of hand balancing and community arts in my coaching practice.

In December 2022, I graduated from NICA with a Bachelor of Circus Arts, majoring in hand balancing. Consisting of over 40 hours of physical practice per week, this is the most advanced training in the art of hand balancing available in Australia.

During my studies at NICA, I thrived developing techniques in manual spin skills, and finding new ways to manipulate an audience's perspective in viewing a hand balancing act. I am delighted to have the opportunity to develop both ideas and skills further in Montreal with the support of the Emerging Artist grant.

Since graduating, I have been building my experience and repertoire performing both as a freelance artist and in productions, while continuing to train my craft and develop new ideas. I am taking great delight in opportunities to perform across Australia, from the Adelaide Fringe to the Australian Open. I have also collaborated with fellow emerging circus artists to establish the company Absurd Circus. In June this year our inaugural and original production, A Sunday Cup of Absurdi-tea premiered at Melbourne's Gasworks and featured my solo hand balance act amongst other skills.

What development opportunity will you undertake?

I will travel to Montreal to undertake a mentorship in hand balancing with Samuel Tetreault and the circus company The 7 Fingers.

Samuel Tetreault is not only a technical expert in hand balancing but also an artistic master who offered me the extremely rare opportunity of one-on-one mentoring sessions. Samuel is a founding member and one of the Artistic Directors of The 7 Fingers, one of the most significant contemporary circus companies in the world.

As part of the mentorship, I have also been offered open access to The 7 Fingers' purpose-built company training facility and the professional community that trains there regularly. This open training represents a completely invaluable opportunity to cross-reference skills and artistic visions with international artists who are at the top of their craft.

Additionally, travel to Canada during July will allow me to attend the internationally renowned circus festival Montreal Completement Cirque. The festival showcases the most current artistic trends and techniques, as well as demonstrates the overall trajectory of contemporary circus as a medium. Residing in Australia, it is so important to attend events like this, as the circus is made to be seen live, and we cannot keep up to date with the industry and the art form if we cannot see it.

How do you hope to advance your artistic practice?

Despite achieving the highest qualification in Australia, on the international scale of hand balancers, I would be considered at an intermediate/early advanced level. Very few individuals globally have mastered this form, as it takes many years of intense study and access to specialist trainers.

This mentorship represents the most advanced hand balancing training internationally, an opportunity to surpass my current technical and artistic skill levels by learning from a master of the art.

On top of this, hand balancing is an equilibrium skill, meaning it is extremely precise and needs to be meticulously maintained. It is crucial to work with a quality trainer to ensure that technique remains precise, not only for skill and aesthetics but for the safety and longevity of my practice.

Additionally, the opportunity to attend the world-renowned Montreal Completement Cirque will be integral to my education as a hand balance artist. Learning the current techniques and artistic trends in hand balancing and across circus arts will be invaluable to my practice and creation of work.

Australian audiences rarely see international skills in circus art, and they deserve to be awe-struck with the current techniques and diverse trends that are out there. I aspire to perform and tour at an international standard of hand balancing, as well as being able to coach future generations to this standard.