After I saw the show of the graduating class of the École nationale du cirque in Montréal a couple of weeks ago, I told my companions that I had found 43 new ways to get out of bed in the morning. It's funny how close I came to the number of disciplines the school helps its students to perfect…their web site lists 41 different disciplines, many of which might be useful for getting out of bed, but none of which I am likely to be able to use.
The other thing we all noticed were the expressions of unmitigated joy on the faces of the performers. Someone in my group speculated that if we were all so flexible and athletic, we might have the same look etched permanently on our faces, but I thought the look would probably be on the faces of everyone we knew… All kidding aside, it is very difficult to keep that euphoric look when exerting physical effort and despite the odd small error, and we all applauded them throughout their show for the sheer entertainment value of everything we saw.
This is not your grandparents' circus, or even your childhood circus. This is all about feats of strength and precision, flexibility and timing, and it really is a joy to watch. Below you'll find a little excerpt from the two shows the graduating students did this year,
All of this leads me to my new favourite festival — Montréal Complètement Cirque! — which will have its second edition this year, from 7 to 24 July. There are circuses from all over the world coming to participate, including a social circus which has worked with local intravenous drug user organization CACTUS to develop acts which will be performed in a free space on the street. The finale of the social circus is set for 23 July in Place Émilie Gamelin (the square at Berri-UQAM metro at the west end of the Village) and in the space around it. We are also promised 'circus moments' in the streets of the Quartier Latin (lower St-Denis) during the festival, so I am determined to hang out there a bit to try to catch them.
Maybe I will see you in July under a big-top, in a theatre space or just gathered around a spontaneous performance in the street.