Home Entertainment The Arts Festival kicks off at the Alberta Circus

The Arts Festival kicks off at the Alberta Circus

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A circus performer with a 12-inch metal spine seems almost surreal, but it’s the real-life story of Angola Murdoch. the Sprains and sprains, or foot jugglers, is One of dozens of talented artists on stage this coming weekend at the Alberta Arts Festival in Edmonton’s French Quarter.

There will be four major theatrical performances, workshops and free events not only to entertain but to introduce the public to nuts and circus arts. All events are family friendly, but Barca, Circus in the Park, Juggling Workshop, and Knee-Knee are aimed at kids and families, while Cabaret offers mature acts.

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Firefly Theater & Circus hosts the festival, which is entering its second year of live performances after its 2020 launch was pushed back to 2021 when the festival began virtually for home audiences.

Firefly artistic director Annie Duggan says she’s seeing more circus action than ever before, but she’s proud that the festival is an intimate experience compared to the larger spectacle.

“The difference with our festival is that it’s very close and intimate,” explains Duggan. “I like to say it’s like seeing Cirque du Soleil in your living room.”

Annie Duggan is the Artistic Director of Firefly Theater in Edmonton. Photo by Ryan Parker /available

The North x Northwest Cabaret kicks off the four-day weekend on Thursday, with 17 singles and couples performing a series of acrobatic acts.

“I feel giddy about this club,” Duggan says. “The caliber of the artists is exceptional.”

Performers from across Canada will take to the stage, like Montreal aerial artist Tania Burca, who has found her footing in circus arts but also holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Mooky McGuinty, the mischievous clown who delights audiences from Russia to Australia and beyond, will perform with her trained chickens.

“If you know what dog agility looks like, it’s a bit like chicken agility,” Duggan laughs.

On Friday, Murdoch performs “Twist of Fight,” based on his real-life experience with a childhood diagnosis of severe scoliosis. Murdoch, not only an aerial artist but artistic director for Toronto’s LookUp Theater, overcame surgery and recovery to become a 20-year veteran of the circus arts with a 12-inch metal spine. She incorporates X-ray projections of the spine, as well as a back brace, into her multidimensional performance.

“It really is a testament to ‘never give up,’” says Duggan. “No matter what your situation is, don’t give up. »

Barka, a production by Montreal’s Gerovago, will be performed on stage on Saturday. Musicians, acrobats and dancers will move the audience with circus numbers and Balkan and Afro-Colombian rhythms. At the end of the show at 2 p.m., the audience is invited to participate, and the brass band’s evening performance will conclude with a concert on Saint-Jean-Baptiste’s day.

“It’s just going to be a huge wall of energy,” Duggan says. “It will be a whirlwind of chaotic fun.”

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Complementing the weekend’s main offerings are Winnipeg lookalike Deep Dish, Samantha Halas. She was 21 when she began spraining, so many considered her late for such physical feats. She’s famous for playing with her feet, a skill Duggan says she doesn’t see often. Hales plays Helen, a waitress who lures him to do circus performers play with cups and spin pizzas on her feet around the restaurant. Like an excellent waiter, Halas can juggle four pizzas at once.

Besides the big weekend shows, Duggan has sought to make the festival accessible through free events, such as Sunday’s Circus in the Park, which will feature performances and hands-on activities for children at Mill Creek Ravine Park. 5 @ Cirque, or Circus Happy Hour, will be back on the terrace of Café Bicyclette on Friday and will include a workshop on folding propellers and handling props with Edmonton artist FloWarrior. Later in the evening, Quebec acrobats and juggling instructor Francis Brotto will host the After Hours Juggle Jam, while Canada’s patriotic stilt walkers will return with a workshop on the art of cliff-walking, as well as juggling with more people strapped to the ground on Saturday. . .


Alberta Circus Arts Festival

when June 22-25

or La Cité Francophone, 8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gabourey

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