CONTEMPORARY CIRCUS FROM HERE AND ABROAD!
The tradition lives on for a third year: under seasoned director Fernand Rainville, the circus’ crème de la crème sets up in the circular hall. TOHU’s signature show brings together select circus artists in outstanding acts. Each gala-inspired performance, both playful and highly emotional, is hosted by a flamboyant master of ceremonies, and celebrates excellence, diversity and creativity. Enjoy the strong performances of world-travelling artists happily performing a prestigious show at TOHU in a communal state of mind. It’s a unique opportunity for circus enthusiasts, and new fans, to see the most dazzling and unusual feats in a wide range of disciplines.
Artists from local and international companies get together on stage, painting a stunning portrait of today’s circus!
MARIE-ÈVE BISSON (QUÉBEC), CIRQUE DU SOLEIL (QUÉBEC), AERIAL HOOPS
Marie-Ève Bisson joined Cirque du Soleil in 1998 and offered her first aerial hoop performance in Quidam. It was the beginning of a long and brilliant career which led her to perform over 5,000 times in more than 35 countries. Known as a pioneer of her art, she brought aerial hoops to a remarkable level.
DUO TRANSCEND, MARY WOLFE AND TYCE NIELSEN (UNITED STATES), TRAPEZE
Mary Wolfe and Tyce Nielsen get acquainted as high divers in a show. Mary has a background in musical theatre and dance, Tyce is trained in acrobatics and high diving. They become aerial partners and get married in 2011. They won the award for best overall performance and for public appreciation for their duo trapeze act at the Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival.
ERDENESUVD GANBAATAR AND BUYANKHISHIG GANBAATAR (MONGOLIA), CONTORTION
Contortionist sisters Erdenesuvd and Buyankhishig were born in Mongolia. Trained at the Mongolian State Circus, Erdenesuvd started performing at 12 years old everywhere in Mongolia, Japan, Russia, Portugal, Germany and Italia. Buyankhishig was never too far away, observing her older sister’s movements. Witnessing her younger sister performing a backbend, Erdenesuvd was impressed with her unique skills and perception. Since then, they have been performing together and travelling around the globe.
NICOLE HEASLEWOOD (ENGLAND), FIRE HOOP
This irresistible artist of British origin now calls Montréal home. She recently charmed international audiences with Magma, an act which took first place at a major fire competition in North America, Les Maîtres du Feu 2017. Characterized by her gracefulness and raw energy, Nicole Heaslewood blends a variety of choreographed artistic forms.
JULIUS AND CÉSAR (GERMANY, FRANCE), CIRQUE ÉLOIZE (QUÉBEC), HAND-TO-HAND
German Julius Bitterling begins his professional training in France, before joining the acrobats of the Beijing Troupe. He further pursued his artistic development at the National Circus School. He draws on his artistic and cultural versatility to develop ever more daring creations. As for French artist César Mispelon, he discovers the circus at 4 years old at the Centre régional des arts du cirque de Lomme. The numerous artists he sees there became great sources of inspiration. At 18 years old, he sets sail to the National Circus School of Beijing. He later completed his training at the National Circus School in Montréal.
JONATHAN MORIN (QUÉBEC), CROSSED WHEEL
Jonathan Morin took his first circus steps with Cirque du Soleil. Since then, he set foot on stages in some forty countries, performing more than 3,400 times. In 2005, he created an apparatus which only he uses: the crossed wheel. This innovation got him many honours at the greatest festivals in the world. At 40 years old, he is at the top of his art.
HUGO OUELLET CÔTÉ (QUÉBEC), FLIP FABRIQUE (QUÉBEC), AERIAL STRAPS
As a kid, Hugo Côté Ouellet wanted his jumps and spins to always be higher and higher. His quest brought him to train at two Québec circus schools and to perform with Cirque Éloize. He had the opportunity to travel the world, refine his passion, perfect his craft. He is a member of Flip FabriQue.
MATTHEW RICHARDSON (UNITED STATES), DREAMCATCHER WHEEL AND FLOOR PAINTING
Born in Georgia, Matthew Richardson developed his passion for the circus after years of researching various disciplines. He professionally studies aerial arts in San Francisco before moving to Montréal to fully devote himself to Cyr Wheel training. He had the opportunity to perform solo for Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai.
SÉBASTIEN SOLDEVILA (FRANCE), LES 7 DOIGTS (QUÉBEC), MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Co-founder and co-artistic director of Les 7 Doigts, Sébastien Soldevila co-directed Loft, La Vie, Séquence 8, Cuisine & Confessions and Le Murmure du coquelicot, which he wrote. He is acrobatic trainer for most creations of the company. He won numerous awards at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. After leading Les 7 Doigts performances at the Vancouver Olympic Games (2010), he directed the first part of the opening ceremony at the Sotchi Games (2014). In 2016, he directed a new version of Viennese operetta The Circus Princess in Moscow and, most recently, Crystal, first ice show by Cirque du Soleil.
EXTRA BONUS: TWO NATIONAL CIRCUS SCHOOL ARTISTS (QUÉBEC)! **
**BRIN SCHOELLKOPF (UNITED STATES), TIGHTWIRE (March 1 to 4)
Born in Vermont, Brin Schoellkopf is 14 years old when joining Circus Smirkus, and performs everywhere in New England and New York. Later, Brin develops his tightrope skills, both technical and artistic, at Montréal’s National Circus School. Perceiving his discipline as a form of dance, he always pushes his feats and technical skills further.
MIZUKI SHINAGAWA (JAPAN), SILKS (February 22 to 25)
Having grown up in Tokyo, Mizuki Shinagawa starts practising rhythmic gymnastics at 12 years old. In 2012, while visiting a workshop in Tokyo, she falls in love with aerial silks. After three years of training in Japan, she devotes her time to aerial training and, in 2015, is admitted to the National Circus School in Montréal.
Theatre figure and skillful director, Fernand Rainville made his mark directing more than a hundred theatre and variety shows such as bilingual production Les Misérables (1990-1991), Les légendes fantastiques (1998-2007) and Saka, equestrian show performed under a big top (2007-2009). Artistic director for Télé Québec’s Le plaisir croît avec l’usage (2001-2003), he is given in 2006 the artistic direction and production of the Outgames opening show at the Montréal Olympic Stadium. With Cirque du Soleil, he co-produced the opening show for the XI FINA World Championships in Montréal in 2005, produced the Miami Super Bowl pre-game circus performance in 2007, and was creative director and producer for Wintuk at Madison Square Garden in New York. He also produced Aqua, the One Drop Foundation multimedia experience. During Guy Laliberté’s trip to space in 2009, Fernand Rainville was content producer and artistic director for Mission sociale et poétique. Creative director for Amaluna, he worked with 45 Degrees on the circus show presented at Astana World’s Fair in Kazakhstan in 2017.
The Silver Stone Duo with an aerial straps number for Cirque du Soleil (Quebec)
Lauren Joy Herley with the rope for Cirque Éloize (Quebec)
Sébastien Soldevilla as the "Maître loyal" of the show for Les 7 Doigts (Quebec)
Maxime Blanckaert and Nathan Briscoe with Russian cradle for the National Circus School (Quebec)
Charlie Wheeler with a Cyr Wheel number for Barely Methodical Troupe (England)
Anatoliy Zalievsky - "The Legend" of hand balance (Ukraine)
Eric Bates, Alexandra Royer and Tristan Nielsen from Barcode Russian Bar (France - Canada - USA)
Laurence Racine and her bungee loop (Quebec)
Éric Bates with cigar boxes juggling (USA)
Alexis Vigneault with his acrobatic light (Quebec)