I’m back home in New York after a fantastic week-long trip to Paris to the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. We call it the “Paris Circus Festival.” It’s officially the “World Festival of the Circus of Tomorrow.” It was hosted by the Cirque Phénix in their enormous 6,000-seat venue.
Why “circus of tomorrow”? It’s a festival for performers age 25 and under.
This was the 35th year of the festival, and I still find the entire experience exhilarating. The performers are the newest up-and-comers to the circus from around the world, from countries as far and wide as Venezuela, Brazil, and China. And these solo acts, duos, and troupes are incredible! Circus owners, directors, and agents are on the lookout to discover the next great circus acts, and the level of talent and fresh innovation is often astonishing. All different kinds of circus acts are represented, from tight wire to juggling to trapeze to speciality acts. And because the festival features relatively unknown performers exclusively, the original, imaginative acts that these performers come up with help to constantly reinvent and expand the contemporary circus. The festival truly does showcase the circus of tomorrow.
The Jury, comprised of past medal winners and circus directors, judges each act in three categories: technical virtuosity, artistic presentation, and audience contact. Prizes –gold, silver, and bronze medals– are awarded … plus several more jury prizes.
I want to share with you several of my favorite acts from the Paris Festival.
One of the gold medalists of the festival, and a spectacular performer, was Aime Morales from Venezuela and his Cyr Wheel act, named of course for Daniel Cyr who is a feature act of the Big Apple Circus this year. Aime is masterful in his use of the Cyr wheel, but his performance doesn’t rely only upon his circus skill. He brilliantly blurs the lines between circus artistry and theatrical performance, infusing his routine with playful clowning and artful mime work. Lovely. There are several clips of Aime available on YouTube, and I highly recommend watching them.
Another wonderful performance was delivered by Avital and Jochen Pöschko. Avital and Jochen performed together on the swinging double trapeze at the Paris Festival, but Avital also frequently performs an aerial straps routine and Jöchen originally trained as a juggler. The Pöschkos were awarded a silver medal, and it was well deserved!
And just for fun, here is a little photographic gem from the week. The four women pictured here all won Gold Medals at the Paris Festival in previous years on trapeze. From left to right, the lovely ladies are Aurelia Kats (France), Uuve Janssen (Sweden), Darya Vintilova (Ukraine), and Elena Panova (Russia-US). And the guy with the silly grin? Well, that’s me of course.
In my next blog post, I’ll talk to you about some other wonderful acts that I saw at the festival. See you soon!