Cirque Éloize: Cirkopolis at the Peacock
Seeing the performers of Cirque Éloize climb up a vertical pipe as if it requires no effort, and doing splits and handstands while being lifted up into the air by a colleague, is utterly impressive. There’s a reason why acrobatics has been around for hundreds of years – it never fails to entertain.
The circus, however, can be anything but ancient. Cirque Éloize shows it off as a contemporary performance art, embedding traditional circus acts in a poetic dimension that triggers emotions beyond mere astonishment.
The show begins in a depressing setting: an office worker in a grey, anonymous city is struggling with a pile of documents that grows higher and higher on his desk. The people around him all look and walk the same way. The scenery shows grey skyscrapers; gears under the buildings turn the city into a clock, kept running by its inhabitants. The obvious question: will he be able to escape the monotony of his life?
The withdrawal of colour in the beginning makes the following scene especially powerful. Performer Léa Toran Jenner enters the empty stage with her cyr wheel, wearing a red dress. While proving herself a master of acrobatics and the wheel, it’s the overall staging that enchants the audience. A simple colourful dress suddenly becomes a prop that represents joy and freedom. Combined with her beautiful movement and soft music, the performance turns into a poetic entity – words are unnecessary in the telling of this story.
In the course of the show, the performers of Cirque Éloize fly into the air with the help of a teeterboard, prove their flexibility during Banquine acts, and strike beautiful poses while floating several metres above the ground on a Chinese pole. The acts are underlaid with diverse music, creating cheerful, sentimental and exciting scenes. The increasing use of colour during the show symbolises the rise of liberty, visually supporting the storyline. Varied in many ways, the show never becomes boring.
Cirkopolis is another reminder why Canada is often referred to as the home of contemporary circus art. Cirque Éloize creatively turns pure acrobatics into an art form that has the ability to tell stories and grip audiences on a profound level.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio
Cirque Éloize: Cirkopolis is on at Peacock Theatre until 28th February 2015, for further information visit here.