Collectif Petit Travers, Le Parti Pris des Choses

Review in Issue 20-1 | Spring 2008

‘Nu-circus’ in the UK all-too-often seems to mean the conglomeration of an overarching frame to circus skills and turns – invoking the ghost of story but ultimately affirming circus as a nonnarrative form. Collectif Petit Travers gloriously explode this stereotype, providing an hour of acutely observed character play executed entirely through performances in juggling, trapeze and dance.

This tight three-hander playfully explored the relationship triangle of a juggler, a dancer and trapeze artist (though with some beautiful skills animating this dynamic). The effortless displays of skill on offer spoke clearly to the character dynamic and were enriched by this – the trapeze as a weapon of defence; juggling balls a hypnotic attraction; dance as the tenderest touch.

Yet whilst emotion, delicately and idiosyncratically drawn, became the engine of the performance, the material – objects, bodies, space, speed – of the ‘circus’ was given its own weight and presence. The simple pleasure of watching the arc of a ball curve and drop was heightened to an art; high-flying multiple juggling feats giving way to the joy of letting a hundred or so rubber balls bounce wheresoever they wanted across a bare stage. There’s a sense of purity here – a Kantor-esque confidence in the virtue of objects (including objectified bodies) to be pleasing in performance simply by being the most like themselves. That the confidence of the company finally allowed them to take an audience largely made up of young people into more abstract presentation of image, object and movement was an astonishing achievement.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-1
p. 30