The piece began as a song-cycle; The Dancing Bear was commissioned for the Olympic 2012 New Music Weekend at the Southbank Centre and premièred on the 13th July 2012. The Bearded Lady followed which was performed and shortlisted for the Ludlow English Song Composition Competition on the 31st of July 2013. The two songs were then performed together at the Birmingham Conservatoire Recital Hall on the 5th of November and awarded the Philip Bates Prize. This success promoted a further two movements to be added titled The Palm Reader and The Fire-eater.The four-song version was performed by Manchester University Chamber Ensemble at the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall on the 5th February 2014 and by Khymerikal at Carole Nash Recital Hall (Manchester) on the 14th of May 2014. The final opera-ballet version was workshopped as part of Rough for Opera at the Cockpit Theatre (London) on the 6th of July.