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Asian artists sweep up at the 2014 Figueres International Circus Festival

The third Festival Internacional del Circ de Figueres held its final gala on Monday evening with 13 performances on show. The winners of the Golden Elephant were a Chinese juggler, Kai Cao, and two more Asian groups, the Chinese Flag Circus and the North Korean National Circus of Pyongyang. The Critics Jury and a Jury dedicated to the image of the performances awarded prizes to two Chilean artists, the contortionist Catalina Pala and the clown Pastelito. This year, more than 28,000 spectators attended the festival, double the attendance of the first year.

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26 February 2014 05:55 PM

by

Carolina Pons

Figueres (CNA).- The third Festival Internacional del Circ at Figueres – a city located near the French border and the Costa Brava – said goodbye in a final gala held on Monday evening with 13 performances on show. This year, more than 28,000 spectators attended the festival, double the attendance of the first year. Thirteen performances by artists from seven different nationalities reached the final after five days of competition. Koreans and Chinese received the three Golden Elephants awarded by the Official Jury of the Festival. The Critics’ and Image jury prizes went to Chilean contortionist Catalina Pala and Chilean clown Pastelito.


More than forty artists, a live orchestra and a great stage show were part of the night. It was the last event of the 3rd edition of this Festival, which forms part of the sixteen circus festivals throughout the world, and is responsible for showing artists who have never before been seen at a European circus.

A finale with thirteen different and varied acts

Chilean trapeze artist Camila Palma kicked off the show. The next finalist was the young 16-year-old contortionist Jordan McKnight, who received three special awards and the second of the three Bronze Elephants. The other two Bronze Elephants went to the Chinese-American couple Ming and Alexa, and the Yunnan Acrobatic Troupe, a group of eleven young Chinese acrobats.

The Festival’s Director Genis Matabosch has a network of talent scouts who select new nominations such as the Vietnamese tightrope number Tra My Trinh, who was awarded the second Silver Elephant. The third Elephant in this category was for the Russian artist Tatiana Ozhiganova and her mastery in playing the concertina on the aerial ribbon. The first Silver Elephant went to the Brazilian Olympus Brothers, three young men whose bodies and strength are able to form different figures.

Golden Elephants in the hands of Asian artists

The first Golden Elephant was awarded to the Chinese juggler Kai Cao, who combined the art of tap dancing with hand juggling. The artist told CNA that he needed five years of preparation to prepare the performance. The second Gold Elephant went to a group of six Chinese acrobats, Flag Circus, which amazed the audience with a group juggling number and their colorful clothing. It was the first act to get the jury to their feet. French jury member Bruno Laloye told CNA they look for innovation and creativity, not only in action, but also in details such as clothing.

The National Circus of Pyongyang, a cast made up of eight Koreans, including one woman, won the third Golden Elephant. For this show, the group wanted to break with established limits and add extra difficulty, such as a quintuple somersault. The result was that the young Koreans also achieved the Public Award.

A little humour to break the tension of the performances

After a 20-minute break, the show continued with a different act full of humour. The star of this performance was the Chilean clown Pastelito, who won the Critics’ Prize and some Special Prizes, awarded by certain agencies within the circus industry. Pastelito told CNA he came to Catalonia for the first time on the first day of the Festival and has made friends with the Catalan public by shouting “Visca Catalunya”. The Chilean played different instruments including the trumpet, saxophone and drums while he sang and joked with the audience. The clown was the one who appeared twice in the scenario, the last time to close the act.

An extensive and varied delivery of prizes

The final part of the Espectacle d'Or award ceremony lasted until one in the morning. Special awards were given and some artists, including the Russian juggling group Empress, received awards in this category. At the end, representatives of the circus world and the city of Figueres awarded the Public Prize, along with the Image and Critics’ awards.

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  • The Vietnamese tightrope Tra My Trinh in the airstripline (by Javi Gutierrez)

  • One component of the Russian juggling group Empress (by Javi Gutierrez)

  • The young American contortionist Jordan McKnight during her performance (by Javi Gutierrez)

  • Three components of Flag Circus making a performance of acrobatic with the diabolo (by Javi Gutierrez)

  • Pastelito the Chilean clown with the saxophone (by Javi Gutierrez)

  • The Vietnamese tightrope Tra My Trinh in the airstripline (by Javi Gutierrez)
  • One component of the Russian juggling group Empress (by Javi Gutierrez)
  • The young American contortionist Jordan McKnight during her performance (by Javi Gutierrez)
  • Three components of Flag Circus making a performance of acrobatic with the diabolo (by Javi Gutierrez)
  • Pastelito the Chilean clown with the saxophone (by Javi Gutierrez)