04 July 2012

Ready, Set, Cirque!

What a lovely little taste of a week and a half to come we had today! A small parade to kick off the festival Montréal Complètement Cirque, my very favourite festival among the many dozens that Montréal hosts each year. Shall we have a look at the parade and the short show that followed?

A giant group of people dressed in red at this intersection?! (This is the infamous intersection of St-Denis and Ontario, site of a couple of standoffs in the nighttime student demonstrations.) This time, no beatings by the police, no pepper spray and no arrests! But I digress…we speculate that these are likely students from the École nationale de cirque, who will also perform nightly shows in Place Émilie-Gamelin during the festival.

On another side note, how much have we become accustomed to photographers just horning in on the scene and becoming part of the scene that everyone else gets to film? A bit annoying, I have to say. Back to the parade…

Some traditional Montréal calêches carrying members of the various participating circuses. The British contingent really looked the part! We'll be seeing them on Saturday 7 July.

This guy was from the Cirque Carpe Diem. Certainly wanted to carpe something here, if you know what I mean! ;-)

Cirque Alfonse was one of my favourite circuses from last year and I was really glad to see them in the parade, even though I don't see them on the schedule. There's nothing like juggling axes in a crowd to get your adrenaline pumping, but the real show-stealer here is the kid. Totally adorable in his outfit, loving the attention (or oblivious to it…couldn't decide which) and discovering the Cyr Wheel (actually just a hoop he walked through). Here's a still photo with daddy lifting him high in the air with one hand:

The wrap-up portion of the parade had a huge variety of characters executing a variety of disciplines. I'm really starting to appreciate the multi-tasking my little mind has to do when confronted by so many different things all going on at the same time. Good thing I'm adjusting, as this seems to be a hallmark of the new circus I love.

When we got to Place Émilie-Gamelin, it was time for a couple of very short speeches and a show! The kids in red took over the square, first with a little Chinese Pole-climbing (I like to call the above the Totem Pole Chinois, for obvious reasons). I also didn't want to cut out the low man on the totem pole, or maybe I just wanted to exploit him shamelessly!

I didn't really get any good shots of the show on the silks, but I did get a reasonable picture of the teams of silk-hoisters. This human element in supporting various circus apparatuses is another thing I love to see. They who are for the moment not the centres of attention have a very practical role in supporting the performances of those who are. Gotta love the synergy.

I did manage to get a short clip of the larger performance they did on the ground. So many! So enthusiastic! Such outfits!

I can tell that our planned six shows in nine days will be anything but tiring. Yay Cirque!

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