Extrêmités by Cirque Inextrêmiste
A breathtaking balancing circus act with a humane message.
The word circus usually brings to mind elegant acrobatics on trapezes, unicyclists, clowns and trained animals. Contemporary circuses also incorporate sophisticated props, visual effects and storylines to bring the audience a surreal, theatrical experience. However, this is not what you should expect from Extrêmités by Cirque Inextrêmiste. Devoid of any pretences, it takes your breath away simply because the performance is so intense, real and intimate that you will come to care for the performers very much.
Danger, danger all around
The world of Extrêmités is always hanging in the balance. Three Cirque Inextremiste acrobats, including artistic director Yann Ecauvre, Sylvain Briani Colin (or Jérémy Olivier) and Rémi Lecocq who is in a wheelchair, balance on lopsided wooden planks and bottles of gas, mixing humour and technical tricks. Something is constantly on the verge of collapse, while everything else is subject to the pull of gravity. The boards run on the gas cylinders that pitch and roll. If one fails then all of them fall. It is a high-octane performance during which you hold your breath hoping nothing disturbs their precarious balance.
Solidarity in a chaotic world
Trust and collaboration in face of a shared risk can conquer mountains, and in this case, gravity. Balanced on stacked-up wood planks and gas bottles, the performers feel a certain kind of unconditional love emerging from the instants where each of their steps link them to one another. Each movement, each breath comes with a sense of fear not just related to the wobbly structure but also the knowledge that one wrong move from anyone will result in a loss of balance. They push their physical limits and tell of a very human story of solidarity, where individuals depend on one another. Listening and being completely tuned in to one another are essential for common survival.
Cirque Inextrêmiste: an unconventional circus
Yann Ecauvre and Bertrand Landhauser founded the As Pas Maioun company in 1998 with six artistes sharing the passion for juggling, dancing, and acrobatics. They began developing projects exploring the possibilities of the aerial arts. In 2004, Ecauvre started a new collaboration with Natya, a dance company in Aix , France and presented Engrenage, a choreographic and acrobatics show. It was followed by De sable et de Vent, an aerial choreography about a journey between the earth and sky. In 2010, the company changed its name to Cirque Inextrémiste after creating InExtremiste, which tells the story about a terrorist in acrobatic delirium using a trampoline and gas cylinders. Extrêmités was created in 2007 followed by Extension in 2014.
These shows are characterised by their tricks with fire, risk-taking, and interaction with the public. The performers go to extremes to create disequilibrium, playing with nerves but the message is always about solidarity and the awareness of one another.
Cirque Inextrêmiste has toured extensively in Europe to critical acclaim. Sometimes workshops are held to let audience participate in the balancing acts themselves. While their acrobatic abilities are beyond the reach of ordinary folks, their shows tell of a very relatable story of fear, doubts, trust and depending on one another to survive.