We must remember the summer of 2014. The Australians of Gravity
The seven performers appeared on the small stage devoid of any decor. There was no apparatus or circus device in sight… Barely a few floor mats arranged in the center.
And yet… After a few minutes, the audience was won over. By their charisma and their humor first, but also by the improbable (and risky!) challenges they threw themselves at who better. A mix of acrosport and acrobatics with one goal: to defy the laws of gravity. And have fun.
At the end, the spectators jumped to their feet and applauded the little troupe with the fervor of parents cheering for their children. Word spread like wildfire…and Gravity’s run ended in triumph.
Two years later, the troupe resumed their play at a larger theater – at the Centaur. Backbone followed in 2018, a creation of the same kind, with a dozen artists who launched other equally reckless challenges, both playful and insane. Always in an intimate setting. Without device. Pure acrobats. Without cheating.
The astonishment was therefore quite great when we learned that The Pulse would bring together 60 artists on stage, including 24 acrobats and 36 choristers.
“Even back then, Backbone seemed huge to us, so imagine this show, with 60 artists! tells us director Darcy Grant, reached by Zoom.
All of the company’s artists – around 30 – ended their three tours and returned to Australia. Thanks to a government program, Gravity obtained the funding to make a creation.
“We never got together, everyone,” Darcy Grant explains. We wondered: what can we do with so many bodies? It was our starting point. The theme of waves and cycles quickly established itself. Taking a step back from the pandemic, we thought that everything in life can be described as a wave, a cycle, a pulse. »
The feeling of intimacy, Darcy Grant believes, will be felt despite the number of artists on stage, precisely because the group of acrobats delivers a very “human” performance. Once again, the acrobats use their bodies as their only instruments, this time mixed with the voices of the girls’ choir of Orfeò Català, from Spain.
Created in 2021, The Pulse stood out at the Edinburgh Festival last summer, with a Scottish choir in addition to the Spanish choir. That’s when Tohu – along with other broadcasters – spotted him. The Pulse team chose to do a short tour with this production. Barcelona, Spain, and Montreal, then Ireland and Austria.
How does one bounce back from a production as beefy as The Pulse? What do we do next?
“For our new creation 10,000 hours, which will be directed by one of the company’s founders, we’re going back to a smaller ensemble,” Darcy Grant tells us. We have started a regeneration process to find exactly the right people who will be able to meet the specific needs of this show. We also work more and more with foreign artists and musicians, so our goal is to set up new collaborations. »
Darcy Grant, himself a former acrobat, says he was influenced by the Montreal circus. He mentions the shows Traces, by Les 7 Doigts, and Nebbia, by Éloize, for example. Among the 24 acrobats of The Pulse, 4 are American artists who graduated from the National Circus School of Montreal, including Kevin Beverley, who we have seen in a few shows of the 7 Doigts.
The Australian director praises Montreal’s professional training. During his stay in Montreal, auditions will take place to integrate artists into the touring shows of Gravity, which wants to diversify its troops, bring in new blood.
So what are the qualifications to be a member of the Brotherhood of Gravity?
Darcy Grant smiled. “You have to have a sense of humor, of course,” he replies. This is the basis. But above all, you have to arrive by saying to others, “What do you need? What can I do for you?” It is this kind of attitude that creates a climate of trust and friendship, essential qualities to evolve with our troop which always wants to push the limits further. »
With the good weather, the circus cabarets of the Monastery organized by Rosalie Beauchamp and Guillaume Blais are organized outdoors. In the beautiful garden of Montreal’s neo-Gothic St Jax Church – Sainte-Catherine Street, corner Bishop – some of Montreal’s best circus performers will be in friendly competition to get their hands on the Golden Chalice. At the end of each performance, the public can vote for their favorite number.
Australian collective Briefs Factory, which refers to men’s briefs, is in town for the first time with a cabaret of rhinestones and sequins that we are promised “irreverent”. The show at the confluence of circus, dance, burlesque and drag will be hosted by Fez Faanana, supported by our drag artist Barbada. Dirty Laundry is clearly an adult show. We are also told about nudity.
American circus troupe Aloft Circus Arts comes to Montreal with this intimate show – under a marquee – centered on six acrobats. Six women who will multiply the numbers on the ground (Cyr wheel, juggling, etc.) as much as the aerial numbers (rope, Chinese pole, etc.), with the aim of celebrating “strength, beauty and bravery”. We’re also told that viewers will be asked to move around during the performance, and even move from sitting to lying down. Are you in? We, yes.