The Social Circus Carnival: when the circus celebrates “strangeness”

In a world where marginality is often perceived as a burden, a one-of-a-kind circus show challenges stereotypes and highlights young people in difficulty who are reclaiming their identity. The social circus carnival, presented as part of the Montreal completely circus festival, celebrates their resilience and creativity.

Monday evening, Place Pasteur receives the 12e edition of social circus carnival, an initiative of Cirque Hors Piste. A colorful program is in the spotlight, featuring shows on the theme Our strangeness without filter. The artists who perform there, both professionals and amateurs, all come from the social circus milieu, which combines the practices of intervention with those of the circus.

This approach allows young people with atypical backgrounds to get to know themselves better by learning disciplines such as juggling, aerial silks, trapeze and the art of clowning. It’s a way to express their full potential and discover their talents, while being accompanied by professionals.

For Dada, a young adrenaline junkie who is participating for the first time in a collective creation by the organization, the theme chosen is an opportunity to celebrate what is unique in each person.

“It’s a theme that touches me a lot. I have a borderline personality disorder related to a dissociation of the person, so I have seven people who “switch” with my emotions. For me, I am one of a kind, and the strangeness that is around us, without filter, is to be able to show the beauty of life. »

The theme of strangeness was born from a reflection that brought together 150 circus enthusiasts from across Canada last year. The young people were encouraged to discuss the values ​​and foundations of social circus with a view to creating a manifesto, which then served as inspiration for this edition of the Carnival. What emerged was the idea of ​​a space where you can be whoever you want, a community offering young people a ” safe space where they don’t need a filter,” explains Karine Lavoie, executive director of Cirque Hors Piste.

“Me, I am someone who wears a lot of masks in life. I have trouble being myself, I try to “fit” with others, and the circus helps a lot not to have a mask with yourself. I am able to let go of my crazy now,” says Mike, who has taken part in all Cirque Hors Piste activities for a year.

A place of sharing

For the first time since its inception, the event social circus carnival welcomes more than forty young people from the four corners of the country. They represent the schools and organizations that make up the Cirkaskina network, which means “all together” in Attikamek.

These young artists took part in workshops over the weekend to put on a show highlighting a multitude of circus disciplines, but also young people with rich and varied backgrounds.

“The objective is both to make a small collective creation over two days with the help of directors who work with them, but also to create a space for exchange between all these communities”, underlines Mme The way.

We create dispositions where the person feels better: the body is rested, so the mind is more available for something else.

Performing in an event of this magnitude arouses great pride in these young artists, and not without reason. For some, this is the first time they have been recognized and promoted, which is a huge personal achievement.

“We feel a certain excitement and a lot of adrenaline, and the fact that, at the moment, we are working very hard and very well, it allows us so much to have confidence in ourselves through this show. Honestly, I have a lot of confidence and determination, I can’t wait to present what we’ve created,” says Dada, with a broad smile on her face.

Be yourself

At the heart of this extraordinary adventure is the Cirque Hors Piste, a one-of-a-kind organization, which was created in 2011.

According to Marilou Vinet, coordinator of the intervention at Cirque Hors Piste, the circus arts are the perfect vehicle to allow these young people to channel their emotions, gain confidence and rebuild themselves after difficult experiences.

“The diversity of circus arts allows for a diversity of levers. Each person finds something that will hook them and bring about quick wins. These are people who have experienced a lot of failures that are not up to them, they have a lot of limits imposed by society, so to achieve something, to be encouraged, it’s new, it’s rare in their life. »

At Cirque Hors Piste, the intervention and the practice of the circus are done in tandem. Still according to Marilou Vinet, the strength of this approach lies in the symbiosis of these two elements, which makes it possible to install a favorable ground, where the circus comes to serve the social.

“For many it’s the only place they can move and, necessarily, you get out of your head and out of your problems because you’re focused on doing something specific with your body. It brings a meditative aspect of connecting to the present moment and relieving stress through sport. We create dispositions where the person feels better: the body is rested, so the mind is more available for something else. »

Beyond the training offered, the organization creates a place of sharing for these people who have often experienced social exclusion. They can create bonds of trust and recognize themselves in the members of the team, made up of professionals who also have this extraordinary side.

” THE backgrounds people who come here are so different. There are some who have been followed in intervention for a long time, but when they arrive here, they find a playground to develop. Others come from very strict backgrounds, where they have been told what to do, and they don’t know who they are, so they can discover their strengths here. And, for some, it’s the first time they have had this safe environment with workers and they learn to trust the resource people around them,” adds Marilou Vinet.

With The social circus carnival, to be held Monday at Place Pasteur, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Cirque Hors Piste reminds us that art has the power to transform lives.

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