We must remember the summer of 2014. The Australians of Gravity & Other Myths were in Montreal for the first time to present A Simple Space. A small form of just over an hour programmed at the Agora de la danse in the middle of the festival. We were even wondering if we were going to cover the show…
The seven performers appeared on the small stage devoid of any decor. There was no apparatus or circus apparatus 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 in 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.
Find intimacy with 60 artists
The astonishment was therefore quite great when we learned that ThePulse would bring together on stage 60 artists, including 24 acrobats and 36 singers.
“Already at the time, Backbone seemed gigantic to us, so imagine this show, with 60 artists! tells us director Darcy Grant, joined by Zoom.
The pandemic is responsible for this large-scale spectacle.
All of the company’s artists – around 30 – have ended their three tours and returned to Australia. Thanks to a government program, Gravity obtained the funding to make a creation.
“We had never found everyone together, explains Darcy Grant. We wondered: what can we do with so many bodies? It was our starting point. The theme of waves and cycles quickly imposed 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 impression of intimacy, Darcy Grant believes that we will feel it 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, who came from Spain.
Voices and bodies have similar qualities, equal ambitions, a search for truth too. The relationship between the two is really interesting. There will be body and voice solos, as well as group movements, all to the music of Ekrem Eli Phoenix, which is sublime.
Created in 2021, ThePulse 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 team of ThePulse chose to do a short tour with this production. Barcelona, Spain, and Montreal, then Ireland and Austria.
How do you bounce back from a production as strong as ThePulse ? What do we do afterwards?
“For our new creation 10,000 hours, which will be directed by one of the company’s founders, we’re back to a smaller ensemble, says Darcy Grant. 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 tracks7 Fingers, and Nebbia, by Éloize, for example. Among the 24 acrobats of ThePulse4 are also American artists who graduated from the National Circus School of Montreal, including Kevin Beverley, who we have seen in a few 7 Doigts shows.
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.
And what are the qualities required to be a member of the Brotherhood of Gravity?
Darcy Grant smiles. “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’s this kind of attitude that allows us to create a climate of trust and friendship, essential qualities to evolve with our troop which always wants to push the limits further. »
ThePulse is presented from July 5 to 8 at the Tohu.
Do not miss
Last Judgment Cabaret
With the good weather, the circus cabarets of the Monastery organized by Rosalie Beauchamp and Guillaume Blais are organized outdoors. In the magnificent garden of Montreal’s neo-Gothic St Jax Church – rue Sainte-Catherine, corner Bishop – some of Montreal’s best circus artists will engage in a friendly competition to get their hands on the Golden Chalice. At the end of each performance, the public can vote for their favorite number.
At the Monastery from July 6 to 15.
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.
At Espace St-Denis from July 6 to 16.
The American circus troupe Aloft Circus Arts arrives in 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.
At the Chapiteau l’Esplanade, outside La Tohu, from July 8 to 16.