Contemporary circus, Canadian scenery, and serene climate made Quebec City a star location for the 68th Annual IJA Festival. Though only some of the festival transpired at L’Ecole de Cirque, known to many jugglers as home of the Turbo Festival, the creative atmosphere infused the spirit of the art. The college gymnasium of Cegep Limoileu housed most of the open juggling and nary an off spot could be found on the ultra-bouncy floor. Stage competitions and shows took place at the Imperial Bell Theatre, a vaudeville era classic with MCs either from the Quebec school or out of the history books.
Special shows and workshops have become a regular feature of the IJA. Jugglers gave Flip FabriQue and Machine de Cirque many thumbs up for melding innovative passing patterns with hooping, aerial skills, and performance character. Flip FabriQue presented for the city at Agora du Port de Quebec throughout the summer. Crepuscule contained ensemble drama and sheer fun. Teeterboard flips into a pit of black and white balls in which the performer disappeared made an irresistible treat. Club passers Francis Julien, Jérémie Arsenault, William Poliquin-Simms, Jérémie St-Jean Picard, Christophe Hamel, Bruno Gagnon worked in formation with a character slant and the contemporary hula hooper was lifted in meaningful manner and ultimately leapt off the stage.
Flip FabriQue, Jade Dussault hooper
Machine de Cirque
Machine de Cirque
Machine de Cirque, Opening Show
The 5-person Machine de Cirque took the role of Welcome Show at an outdoor stage set-up downtown. With rugged ingenuity based on a survival concept they teamed on teeterboard, bikes, and acrobatics with some 5-club patterns and passing thrown in. A particular favorite for the jugglers was the lying-down club passing formation in various feed patterns. The IJA also hosted a Welcome Stage redux giving individuals a chance to perform and a benefit show at Theatre de la Bordee.
Greg Kennedy and Co. presentedTheorem, a special performance at L’Ecole de Cirque on Thursday night.
Greg Kennedy in Theorem
Machine de Cirque
The “hemisphere” from Kennedy’s championship act in 1996 made an appearance, sans croutons, as did an updated Lucas Cup for Kennedy and his family to take home. Greg and aerialist Shana Kennedy manage a circus studio in Philadelphia so they enjoyed the familiar scene, as did their three young enthusiasts. Theorem has been pursuing touring opportunities in the wider world of performing arts centers, but here jugglers could apply their own musings to Kennedy’s ideas and innovations. They could also take the Special Workshop during the week.
Kennedy is such a skilled all-around juggler not many can keep up and most of his collaborators have other specialties. Zack Delong, Shane Miclan, Christine Morano, Nicelle Burgio, and Matt Scarborough tossed in batches of beanbags until the ultimate batch fell from the ceiling. This worked better than the piñata at Renegade. The piece comes alive when Kennedy gives each performer a magic sphere igniting their childlike wonder. This leads nicely into a group box build as an adroitly fashioned tower interlocks en balance.
A triple hemisphere emerged successfully with a wonderful trio of practitioners rolling six balls each in legitimate patterns. Kennedy follows with an eight ball solo. What happens when one performer gets all the balls is best answered in the DVD. Moving en l’air, an aerial double cloud swing impressed with a strong hand-to-hand sequence and evident performance enjoyment.
Three silver balls on strings created a larger ensemble with possibilities. Maybe there’s a way to add poi capabilities. The Moschenesque performance of the square in circle yields its own patterns. One of the differentiations is the ability of the square to rotate in a circle and produce new angles. The idea of performing this way might have echoed Moschen more than any particular trick; it is the way of contemporary circus. Invigorating set patterns led to a Ferris wheel delight. Vaudeville performers traditionally utilized some of these techniques, though Kennedy’s contraptions have advanced from the typical box or park bench a la Bobby May.