There’s no city in the world more synonymous with circus than Montreal. And over the next two weeks, this birthplace of the Cirque du Soleil will be alive with acrobats, illusionists and contortionists thanks to the international circus festival, Montréal Complètement Cirque…
Their new show, Séquence 8, features eight versatile and talented young artists who work their magic, whether through choreography, Chinese pole, Russian bar, cigar box, trapeze, hand to hand or aerial hoops acts, to create a viewing experience packed with breathless moments. Along the theme of the “self and the other,” this is the first show the founders, Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila – a real-life couple – are directing as a duo in the troupe’s 10-year history.
Among the home-grown acts there’s the transportative cabaret, Carrousel et corde à linge of Vague de Cirque, the darlings of last season. There’s clowning around of the classic sort at Clip! + Maestro, featuring a side-splitting character kids are sure to love. And of course, a must is Amaluna, the latest, greatest tent show by the Cirque du Soleil, located right in the heart of the beautiful Old Port.
What’s so exciting, though, is that Montréal Complètement Cirque also brings the best acts from all over the world to the city: from Germany there’s the surreal Leo by the Circle of Eleven, which mixes theatrics and video projections in a gravity-defying way. Sweden’s most prominent contemporary circus company, Cirkus Cirkör presents the amazing Undermän, an unapologetically masculine show featuring three men in checked shirts mixing physical prowess with music, poetry and humour for a performance that critics say brims with emotion.
There’s the North American premiere of Ro-Pu, by the high-flying Finnish troupe Circo Allegro – you may get a crick in your neck from all the amazing air-work! And then there’s the big British shebang: La Soirée, winner of the Best Show at the 2012 London Cabaret Awards, a heady mix of titillating burlesque, sideshow weirdness, astounding acrobatics and, sure, artistic beauty that’s as deliciously naughty as chocolate cream pie.
In addition to the circus-epicentre TOHU, the fest will take you everywhere from Lion d’Or, the historic club in the city’s eastern quarters, to the beautiful Théâtre d’Outremont, Le National, L’Olympia, Usine C and more – not to mention all the outdoor fun that’s to be had, much of it for free. So go on, get to know the city the circus way!
Montréal Complètement Cirque, July 5-15, 2012
Isa Tousignant is contributing editor for Canadian Art, Montreal correspondent for Akimbo, and a freelance writer on art, culture, travel, design and shoes for everyone from enRoute to Canadian Business to herself.