Interview: Silvia Pavone, ‘I am going back to my roots’

Silvia Pavone is a hula hoop dancer and fire performer, based in London. She discovered circus on the streets and became totally entranced by this art form. The street was in fact her first teacher, as Silvia started performing in the piazzas of Rome, where she comes from.

From that start on the streets of Rome she has moved on performing across the world and on television. We caught up with her to find out what it’s like to be back at Glastonbury Festival.

How does it feel to be performing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival?

Glastonbury is my favourite event in the UK, and it’s my first year back since the pandemic, so I am very excited! 

What was it that attracted you to circus performance?

I first started seeing people spin fire at music festivals, in my teens. I was immediately hypnotised and intrigued to try it myself. Before I knew it, I was totally in love with the art form and started teaching myself by watching videos on youtube (back then, there were not many people doing it in Italy, where I’m from). Soon after, I started doing street shows in the piazzas of Rome.

What can you tell us about your shows?

I am presenting brand new work at the festival this year, which makes it even more exciting! Having performed hula hoops there many times before, I felt the desire to do something different and challenge myself out of the comfort zone this year. Let’s say I am going back to my roots, as I will be manipulating fire … the rest is a surprise.

You’ve played in some incredible locations and at some incredible shows, like the F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix last year – how do you think Glastonbury will compare to some of those?

I never compare shows or events, as they are all very different from each other – that’s the beauty of it. Especially in this specific example, it’s impossible to compare a corporate event, such as the F1 Grand Prix, with a festival, as they stand at the opposite ends of the spectrum, for a wide variety of reasons. My heart always feels more at home performing at the festivals; there I feel like I can connect with the audience much better and it normally is just more fun!

Finally, are there any other acts you’re looking forward to seeing across the weekend?

I’m looking forward to seeing the Hot Brown Honeys headline the Circus Big Top, then Blondie and the Chemical Brothers DJ set.

Silvia Pavone is at Glastonbury Festival 2023