On my brief trip to Montreal this past weekend, I was thrilled to be invited to attend two performances by the National Circus School in Montreal (L’École Nationale de Cirque). These were presented at TOHU, the wonderful permanent circus performance space.
The National Circus School is the largest school in the Americas devoted to circus arts training It offers an enormous variety of programs to prepare students for professional careers including college-level certification.
These were two showcases that exhibited the excellent world class training and discipline imparted by this school, its teachers and staff. In addition, the young artists are extraordinarily well conditioned. The ensemble work is excellent. L’École Nationale de Cirque is to my mind, the finest circus school in the world currently.
The shows that I saw last week were part of an annual showcase that the School produces for graduating students. Each is featured in an act of their own that is a product of the three year schooling and training, tied together in a performance created by a professional team of directors, designers and choreographers.
The two shows were titled L’abri (Shelter) and La Matrice de Morphée (Morpheus’ Matrix). The former L’abri was created around ideas of transition and transience, in-between spaces, and the show’s creator and director Gioconda Barbuto wanted to highlight “the passionate energy of youth.” The second show, La Matrice de Morphée, created by director Michael Watts, was “a journey punctuated with humor and flashes of great energy” that played on ideas of modern life and social reality. Both shows were simple and excellent circus shows, but the real drive and entertainment behind each show came from the student performers. There was some extraordinary talent.
The shows run through next weekend, and if you’re in Montreal don’t miss them. Watching these young people perform, I feel the future of the circus arts is in good hands.