Vague de Cirque traveled to Oswego State to perform four shows from April 15 to April 18. The small, traveling circus was light-hearted and interactive, making the performances enjoyable beyond the impressive acrobatics displayed.
Alain Boudreau and Noémie Gervais, two former members of Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Eloize, created the troupe from Quebec with their own vision for the popular art form. The group includes performers from three different countries, including Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.
Vague de Cirque is a troupe that brings circus performing back to its roots. The group travels and performs in smaller settings, which allows it to feed off audience energy and create a more welcoming atmosphere to those who come to see its shows.
The performances took place inside the troupe’s small tent it travels with and the venue’s size proved to add an intimate feel. The seating was set up cabaret style and the catwalk, which the eight members of the troupe performed upon, was just inches from the audience.
The setting allowed for audience interaction with the cast several times during the show and left those in attendance feeling as if they were going through each acrobatic feat with the performers.
The audience looked on as members of the troupe pushed their bodies to physically strenuous points. The ability to not only pull one’s body up during the two rope work sections, but also suspend oneself in the air just by wrapping up in the rope was astonishing to watch.
In certain portions, such as the juggling and the balance beam acts, the performers showed signs of weakness when they stumbled or dropped props. However, they remained focused and worked together to move forward. When they did not dwell on their mistakes, the audience was able to move on as well. Even through mistakes, the accomplishments of each act were easy to appreciate because of the strength and focus necessary.
The performance also incorporated a lot of humor. The apparent ringleader and her husband alternated between showing prowess in acrobatics and appearing aloof and incapable of doing what the others did. The husband’s feeble attempts at some of the acrobatics were easy to relate to and funny to watch. He was a crowd favorite and entered the audience on occasion, which furthered the connection between the crowd and performers.
The music used throughout the evening was always perfectly selected. The music fit each act’s mood and tempo. It added to acts and created a well-rounded atmosphere.
One instance where the music was especially appropriate was when the Australian duo performed to selections by the Bee Gees, an Australian pop group from the 1960s and 1970s. The tandem danced along as one performer slowly convinced his counterpart to give in to the music and not worry about looking silly. The section also was a prime example of Vague de Cirque’s acrobatic acts where they use each other as supports and work off one another instead of a beam, trapeze or trampoline.
The troupe offered a very personal, comfortable setting for the audience to enter. The costumes worn were low key, the music was pleasant, and at times familiar, and the performers broke down the usual theatric wall in between the stage and the audience. The crowd was treated to an experience, which left it buzzing and exiting pleased.