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Figueres, International Circus Capital

The magic of circus descended on Figueres last week. Over a long weekend, this town in northern Catalonia, close to the French border and the Costa Brava, hosted the second edition of the International Circus Festival. The event is unique due to its global visibility and the performances of artists belonging to the international circus elite, who have never been seen before in Western Europe. The Festival is a special experience for spectators, but also represents a professional chance for artists to become known, as they compete before a jury formed by key personalities in the field, such as Line Giason, the Casting Director of Cirque du Soleil. This year’s winners were Jinan Acrobatics Troupe from China and Troupe Yakov Ekk from Russia.

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27 February 2013 06:31 PM

by

Carla Marchesi

Figueres (CNA) - Last week Figueres became the world circus capital for the second year in a row. Over a long weekend, this northern Catalan town hosted the International Circus Festival, a unique event for its global visibility and the performances of artists belonging to the international circus elite who have never been seen before in Western Europe. The international character of the Festival is down to the effort of the event\u2019s director, Genís Matabosch, and his team, who travelled thousands of kilometres to find the most talented artists in the world. This year\u2019s winners were Jinan Acrobatics Troupe from China and Troupe Yakov Ekk from Russia.


Besides being a unique experience for spectators, the Figueres International Circus Festival offers a professional chance for artists to be known, as they compete before a jury formed by key personalities in the field, such as the Casting Director of Cirque du Soleil, Line Giason. Circus critics and image specialists are also present in the jury, along with representatives from prestigious publications and recognised photographers.

The magic of circus descended on Figueres once again. A circus where meticulousness, perfectionism, professionalism and creativity shape the unforgettable performances of 63 talented artists from 13 different countries. Matabosch\u2019s introductions and musical accompaniment by the prestigious Carmino d\u2019Angelo orchestra rounded off each of the shows.

A truly global cast of characters

Due largely to last year\u2019s success, the Festival drew spectators of all ages and from different countries who strongly applauded artists who surprised them with perfectly staged performances of extreme technical difficulty, combined with shows of another kind of difficulty: that of making people laugh.

In this sense, spectators enjoyed the Troupe Yakov Ekk, a Russian group who brought something new to this year\u2019s edition: the inclusion of animals to the Festival. They delighted people with impossible acrobatic stunts on horses. Bicycles and unicycles, as well as horses, also had their moment of glory, at the hands of Troupe Kucherenko, from Ukraine.

Brian Dresdner, from Brazil, did the most curious juggling, including hats he made come and go like boomerangs. Vietnamese artists An Hoang and Thu Hiep, Colombian duo Réquiem, or Kazakhstan artist Aliya Dosbatyrova, flew through the air drawing their silhouettes on the highest part of the big top, by means of a Washington trapeze, aerial slings and hula hoops.

The Caluga and Maks Annaev spoke to spectators in one of the most international languages: humour. The Caluga are grandsons of Tony Caluga, a legendary clown in Chile who made \u2018tony\u2019 becomes a synonym for \u2018clown\u2019 in his country. They made people explode into laughter with their fresh and naive humour, and even ventured to speak a little Catalan. Russian artist Maks Annaev was also funny and had some great anecdotical moments due to his interactivity with spectators.

Behind the scenes

Héctor Carrozzo is from Argentina and brought a unique balancing show to Figueres. His 28th birthday coincided with his stay at the Festival. Before the show started, he met us backstage, where all the artists were dancing, singing and taking pictures to immortalize their experience. Carrozzo explained that he dedicated himself to gymnastics since he was four. He has represented his country in this discipline in many competitions and has worked in the circus world since 2005. He says with a sense of humour that his life \u201Chas been always with his feet up\u201D. Carrozzo knows his participation in the Festival is a unique professional experience, is also a chance \u201Cto push himself\u201D and to do his job \u201Cas best as possible\u201D. But he makes clear that competition among the artists has been \u201Csuper healthy\u201D and \u201Cit only takes place in the ring\u201D. Carrozzo leaves Figueres having made new friends, \u201Cbeyond any border or language\u201D.

At the closing ceremony, the jury chose as this year\u2019s winners the Jinan Acrobatics Troupe (China), Troupe Yakov Ekk (Russia), Thu Hiep & Hoang An (Vietnam), Yana Serdyukova (Russia), Duo Catalexi (Quebec) and Duo Funckoholics (Russia). They were given the distinguished Festival prizes offered by the Dalí Foundation, which are gold, silver and bronze pairs of Dalinian elephants. The public, on its feet, bid farewell with warm applause to the Figueres International Circus Festival, the organizers of which are \u201Cvery satisfied\u201D. As Genís Matabosch said, \u201Cpeople were able to appreciate that this is a quality circus festival\u201D. The attendance was successful: more than 23,000 tickets were sold, out of the 25,000 available.

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  • Argentinian artist Héctor Carrozzo during his awesome balancing show (by C. Marchesi)

  • The Troupe Yakov Ekk, from Russia, made impossible stunts on horses (by C. Marchesi)

  • Aliya Dosbatyrova’s amazing performance with aerial straps and hula hoop (by. C. Marchesi)

  • Argentinian artist Héctor Carrozzo during his awesome balancing show (by C. Marchesi)
  • The Troupe Yakov Ekk, from Russia, made impossible stunts on horses (by C. Marchesi)
  • Aliya Dosbatyrova’s amazing performance with aerial straps and hula hoop (by. C. Marchesi)