The circus is coming to Les Jardins Gamelin!

July 6, 2016

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Photo : Rénald Laurin

The new free production from the MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE festival is set to make some noise. From July 7 to 17, in the heart of Les Jardins Gamelin, 30 acrobats will be accompanied by as many citizens, all working together to put on an amazing show for you.

For several years now, the performers have been taking over Saint-Denis St., turning it into an open-air circus. Every evening, you can follow them as they perform the Minutes complètement cirque before making your way to Les Jardins Gamelin to cap the evening with the spectacular Fracas, a dazzling show that’s both intimate and majestic.

To learn more, we spoke with two people involved in the production. Vladimir Lissouba is a professional circus artist, and Maxime D. Pomerleau is a journalist, commentator and actress who will be part of the community artists participating in the performance of Fracas.

What attracted you to the circus arts?

Vladimir: In 2011 I was a software engineering student, but I was doing a lot of parkour [a street art in which participants use street furniture as acrobatics props]. I participated in the second edition of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE as a community member of the Minute-artists. And I discovered a deep passion for the circus arts! Five years later, I’ve just graduated the École nationale de cirque.

Maxime: I always attend the festival, and I’ve often covered it as a journalist. Last year, I participated in a journalism writing residency with the En piste organization, with the aim of developing expertise in modern circuses. There I met Anthony Venisse, the director of Fracas and of the Minutes complètement cirque. He talked to me about the community component of the show, which is intended to open the circus to everyone. Community involvement and cultural outreach are important elements of the circus arts, and I really wanted to participate this year. So I auditioned, I was chosen, and here I am!

What does it mean to you to participate in a free, open-air production?

Maxime: The show in Place Émilie-Gamelin always made me very proud, as a spectator. A big crowd gathered at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night, people from all walks of life watching a circus show for free, is a moving sight for me. It demonstrates that the circus belongs to all of us. This year, being involved with the show has shown me how demanding the circus arts are for the artists.

Vladimir: It’s very gratifying to give this show to festivalgoers. It’s one of the main reasons I enjoy participating in the festival. There’s a different dynamic to performing outdoors as opposed to in a theatre. We’re very close to the audience and form a special bond with it. For ten days, I can’t stop smiling. I love it!

Tell us about this year’s production, Fracas.

Vladimir: After following the Minute-artists during the Minutes complètement cirque [see sidebar], the audience arrives in Les Jardins Gamelin, where there’s a stage and a massive structure used for the aerial routines. This year, the show is inspired by the musical piece Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns. We’re mesmerized by a demonic violinist, and this is reflected in dances and acrobatics. The show includes many different aerial disciplines like trapeze, high wire, aerial silks, Chinese hoops, hand-to-hand routines and human pyramids. It’s all breathtaking! Maxime: As for us, the community Minute-artists, we sing, dance and do group poses. I’m in a wheelchair – and we use the chair as a prop. And I can tell you I’m not always on the ground!

Can you describe Fracas in a few words?

Maxime: A daring and very exciting production!

Vladimir: Uplifting, hybrid, captivating.


Les Jardins Gamelin
July 7 to 17 (except July 11), 7 and 10 p.m.

Whet your appetite

A half hour before Fracas begins, the Minute-artists have something special for you. The gleeful band of characters – made up of circus artists and community performers – will lead you to Les Jardins Gamelin. Their goal: to grab your attention with some stunning acrobatic and artistic pieces. Along the way, in Place Pasteur, you will enjoy the mini-show Minute sous les étoiles, in which wanderers find each other and celebrate.

Les minutes complètement cirque

Departs from Saint-Denis at the corner of Emery
July 7 to 17 (except July 11), 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.