We always need a circus festival, says circus artist Simon Nadeau right off the bat. This one wears several hats, being also one of the organizers of the festival and coordinator of the Franco-Centre.

He says that the idea came to him from a desire to build bridges between the different cultural communities of Iqaluit. It’s almost universal: people love the circus, whether you’re French-speaking, English-speaking, Inuit, he believes. The circus allows us to open up to everyone, because there are not necessarily words.

Simon Nadeau will present for the first time a solo show that will notably incorporate juggling as well as acts on an acrobatic ladder and on a soft wire.

I’m really looking forward to performing in front of people, he said. I missed it so much. A sentiment he says is shared by Iqaluit residents. He says ticket sales are going well and expects several shows to sell out.

Several circus collectives will be there, including Artcirq, from Igloolik, the Montreal companies 7 Doigts de la main and THROW2CATCH (T2C) as well as Swiss artist Jessica Arpin.

The exterior facade of the Franco-Centre, the building of the Association des francophones du Nunavut, in Iqaluit.

The shows will be presented at the Franco-Centre in Iqaluit.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Matisse Harvey

Create in the moment

The Artcirq troupe is still preparing the show it will present on May 7. This creative process, rooted in the present moment, is an approach she has always advocated. We come in with our good energy, and we put on a showsummarizes the co-founder and co-artistic director of the collective, Guillaume Saladin. Looking back in time is a very Western way of looking at life.

Artcirq has been present in Igloolik for twenty years, a continuous presence which allowed him to build a relationship of trust with the community, according to Guillaume Saladin.

The arts are a pretext for gathering and expressing oneself. »

A quote from Guillaume Saladin, co-artistic director and co-founder of Artcirq
Two men during a rehearsal for a circus show in Igloolik.

Guillaume Saladin (right) spent his youth in Igloolik, where in 1998 he co-founded a circus collective that became Artcirq a few years later.

Photo: Artcirq

Although the troupe is now well established in Nunavut, it has faced all kinds of challenges over the years, including the lack of infrastructure for artistic performances. For more than 10 years, however, the collective has had a creative space, called the Black Box housed in an unused section of the municipal arena.

The vision has always been to provide a space for the young people of Igloolik to forge tools so that they can communicate, express what they have inside.says Guillaume Saladin.

A child performs a somersault in the air while a man reaches out his hands to catch him.

For Guillaume Saladin, the “Black Box” is much more than a creative space. “It’s a safe place where young people can express themselves and work hard,” he says.

Photo: Artcirq

He also says that the pandemic has put the troupe’s priorities into perspective. The most important thing for us is to make a difference in our community. Instead of going on a trip to collaborate with other artists, we prefer to invite them to come to Igloolik. That way, their impact is spread across the whole community.

The festival is presented at the Franco-Centre until May 8. If the event generates enough interest from Iqalummiut, the organizers hope to repeat it next year.

HERE Far North


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