Cirque de Demain Festival Returning to the Global Stage in 2023

Circus News

Cirque de Demain Festival Returning to the Global Stage in 2023

After two years of postponement due to the pandemic, the 42nd edition of Le Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain is ready to commence in 2023—and it hopes to bring the whole world in on the celebration. Here’s what you can expect to see in Paris come late January.

The Festival Mondiale du Cirque de Demain has long stood as a testament to both the durability of circus and the adventures to be had in following one’s passions. Founded in 1977, Cirque de Demain has since become an unmissable event for all people connected to the circus world—a yearly display of the latest and most cutting-edge artistic forms and disciplines. It calls circus performers, producers, fans and lovers from around the globe to come together in Paris every year and celebrate some of the most precious moments of the circus season. 

Throughout its more-than-forty-five-year life, Cirque de Demain has made good on its mission of opening the circus world to the society that surrounds it. Each edition of the festival welcomes nearly 15,000 spectators. Over the years, it has also presented more than 1,200 young and inventive circus artists the chance to showcase theirsavoir-faire before an esteemed jury panel, made up of renowned performers and eminent personalities from the arts world, and an eager audience. And, in 2023, it’s fair to say that the audience will be more eager to see them than ever before.

In many ways, the 42nd Cirque du Demain Festival had already set its own stage years in advance of the event itself. It was initially scheduled for January 2021 before the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the world’s plans for the foreseeable future. Things almost went ahead for January 2022 until a global surge of the Omicron variant prompted the Festival organizers to postpone the event for one more year, citing concern for public and performer safety. But now, in 2023, the coast is finally clear: Cirque de Demain is ready for its grand return. And this year, the organizing team plans to make up for lost time with a particularly spectacular outing.

The 42nd edition will unfold from Thursday, January 26, to Sunday, January 29, under the grand dome of Cirque PhĂ©nix. Located on the lawn of Reuilly, Paris, this dome is one of the world’s biggest Big Tops; its structure accommodates between 3000 and 3500 spectators per Festival show and, without masts or interior posts, everyone in the audience has an unobstructed view of things on stage. 

And on that stage, there will unfold a real competition, spread out over four days in two separate shows, of 12 acts each, put on by daring new artists and companies. All acrobatic disciplines, from the graceful to the delightfully eccentric, are invited to compete, both to measure their durability and to attest to their continual innovation. Moreover, every young artist who applies to the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain is perfectly aware that its stage presents a one-of-kind opportunity for them to amplify their careers on an international scale. Driven by audience cheers, each one strives to outdo themselves and give each evening an exceptional atmosphere.

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A Pro-fessional Welcome

In addition to its packed performance slate, Cirque de Demain in recent years has also sought to act as an essential meeting point for arts professionals within, and even beyond, the circus world. Agents and artists; directors and stage technicians; circus school teachers and students; choreographers, and talent scouts, whether they arrive in Paris from one of its suburbs or from thousands of kilometers away, will all be warmly welcomed to the city. 

There they will find plenty of opportunities to network and connect through professional workshops, conferences, and presentations, as well as locations for showcasing brands and talents. The festival team has also set up an organization to coordinate and optimize meetings between companies and the artists in competition.

Those who want to explore the Festival Mondial in its fullest possible scope will also have a new option this year to do so: by subscribing to ClubPro. As Cirque de Demain Vice President Pascal Jacobs describes, ClubPro offers subscribers “a whole new way of seeing the Festival. It is the best way to meet and interact with people who have the same interest in the circus as you. You will have access to the workshop and to the conferences, the dress rehearsal and the opening cocktail. It offers many advantages, and a chance to live out the full Cirque de Demain experience.”

Looking for somewhere to start? You can find two friendly faces from Team CircusTalk at our table in the lobby of the Cirque Phenix dome. CircusTalk CEO Stacy Clark and Community Manager Em Holt can’t wait to meet people from our community face-to-face. Hopefully, we’ll see you there!

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The Main Event 

Every edition of the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain spotlights 24 unique acts from around the world, giving each one of them the chance to appear on a truly global stage. Each big show, or spectacle, features 12 of these acts divided into two smaller shows, Show A and Show B. From Thursday through Saturday, each show is presented twice. The members of the jury then proceed to a vote, awarding nine gold, silver, and bronze medals as well as three special prizes, given to the artists on Sunday afternoon at the final Show of the Laureates.

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Announcing the 42nd Festival Jury

Under the Presidency of Lucas Dragone, Artistic Director, BELGIUM, the 42e Festival Jury welcomes the following experts to the panel:

  • Nathalie Bondil, Director of the Museum and Exhibitions Department of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, FRANCE
  • Estelle Clareton, Choreographer, Creative Director at the National Circus School of Montreal, Artistic Director of Cie CrĂ©ations Estelle Clareton, CANADA
  • PĂ©ter Fekete, Managing Director of Capital Circus Budapest, President of the Budapest International Circus Festival, HUNGARY
  • ValĂ©rie Fratellini, Deputy Director and Pedagogical Director of the AcadĂ©mie Fratellini, FRANCE
  • Kerol, Artist, Silver Medal of the 32nd Festival in 2011, SPAIN
  • Pavel Kotov, Cirque du Soleil International Casting Director, CANADA
  • Enkhtsetseg Lodoi, Gold Medal of the 6th Festival in 1983, Founder & CEO of Angels Mongolian Modern Circus, President of the Mongolian Contortion Association, MONGOLIA
  • Markus Pabst, Artist, Artistic Director BASE – Berlin, GERMANY
  • Giulio Scatola, Director of Casting and Performance Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, USA
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And, without Further Ado, Meet the Festival Artists!

SPECTACLE A

—Thursday 26 January 2023 – 20h30 (8:30 pm)

—Saturday 28 January 2023 – 20h30

With Guest

Cie SORALINO 

ANDY JORDAN
Juggling
Austria

Ever since the Russian performer L. A. Street created the principle of “bounce juggling” in 1910, countless theatre stages have been sought out by jugglers seeking to play with their floors and invent new forms of verticality. Andy Jordan offers these three dimensionalities with an ease and humour reminiscent of the eccentric celebrities that precede him. Creating fun new situations and moments, he gleefully toys with our perception! 

ARTHUR CADRE
Dance, Contortion
France

Versatile acrobat Arthur Cadre often turns up where you do not expect him. In his effort to continuously create new emotions for the spectator, he delicately cultivates a mystery around his every appearance, and often provokes a mix of shock and amazement in audiences


EMMANUEL GARCIA
Flying pole & straps
Mexico

Former Cirque du Soleil performer Eduardo Emmanuel Garcia Torres has spent two years working to create an act that subtly combines two disciplines which, at first glance, seem irreconcilable. “PoleStraps” is an act designed to be a rush of emotions, inviting spectators to reach into their heart and soul in search of their greatest dreams, to give them substance and bring them to life. 

POLINA MAKAROVA
Balance
Mexico

Another former member of Cirque du Soleil, Paulina Garcia has created this special act just for the Festival. Convinced that every movement has its own amplitude, she has made them the body and mind of this magnificent balance sequence, which combines the purity of her lines with her great fluidity to create powerful patterns. 

QUENTIN SIGNORI
Aerial straps
France

A former world gymnast on Team France, Quentin Signori’s decision to join the circus came to him like a revelation after attending a show by Cirque Plume. He has designed this act using a single customised strap, incorporating both his strength and his uncertainties. As a detainee in the prison of the mind, he has no other means to free himself than elevation, using a strap rooted in the sky


PENG CHAN
Diabolo
Taiwan

With the support of his three collaborators, MHD Diabolo Art Taiwan member Peng Chan has created this act as a formidable technical progression: a sequence of feats, the last of which, created using five diabolos, now bears his name. It invites us to share in a moment of pure skill, a metaphor for the total commitment of an artist who believes that it is always possible to push the limits of his discipline. 

LA TANGENTE DU BRAS TENDU
Flying trapeze
France

Defying the aesthetic formalism that still sometimes exists at other latitudes, “Resistance” is a flying trapeze act directed by Maxime Bourdon and based on the skills of a powerful collective. Crafted as an ode to resistance, this number has been created in two acts that combine evocation and narration, performed to the unyielding sounds of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” “RĂ©sistance” is a song for freedom: a formidable aerial digression not to be forgotten. 

SHEN YANG YI
Juggling
China

Shen Yang Yi proved himself to be a precocious juggler by easily mastering eight balls at the age of ten. He has not stopped perfecting himself in the years since, endlessly multiplying skills and combinations, mixing balls and Hula Hoops while directing his skateboard in sinuous evolutions. Though he may be self-taught, his deftness with a soccer ball led a Spanish team to invite him to join their more
 conventional players! This juggler-footballer’s act is sure to surprise you!

DUO GEMINI
Flying pole
Ukraine

Despite their training as gymnasts, twins Yiuliia and Olha Mosiienko are paradoxically self-taught when it comes to circus, but their tenacity and solid physical abilities have enabled them to create this disturbing aerial hoop act where their twinness proves to be a marvelous asset. Both powerful and tender, this mirrored number is an exceptional feat, giddying both for the two acrobats and all spectators. It is undoubtedly a key discovery of this edition. 

MA-MÃO COMPAGNIE
Hand to hand
Brazil

Trained at the ENC of Escola Nacional de Circo de Rio de Janeiro and at l’ Ecole SupĂ©rieure des Arts du Cirque de Toulouse of Esacto’Lido, acrobats Eliel Dias Soares Jr. and Cecilia Campos Figueiredo portray a tough but clumsy guitarist and a flexible yet cynical singer trying to come to an agreement. The music is supposed to unite them, but their relationship quickly turns into a sort of close combat both fierce and friendly. It is from this spectacular mixture of strength and tenderness that unexpected links end up being woven.

EVGENY KURKIN
Chinese pole
USA

After working for Cirque du Soleil and settling down in Las Vegas for more than ten years, Evgeny created this Chinese pole act that draws upon his own experiences to convey a sequence of moods and feelings that combine strength and self-control. He is a powerful acrobat, playing with the apparatus as he would a partner. 

Cie NICANOR DE ELIA
Juggling manifesto
Argentina/Brazil/Spain/France/Italy/Uruguay

United at the Toulouse-Occitanie Circus Arts Graduate School Esacto’Lido, international jugglers Lucas Castelo Branco, Walid El Yafi, Nahuel Desanto, Juan Duarte Mateos, and Gonzalo Fernandez have created “Juventud” with the help of choreographer Nicanor de Elia and composer Giovanni di Domenico. Together, they aim to build a progressive manifestation of freedom in movement, one where beauty is not sought to reach perfection, but to achieve a complexity that combines both individual and group dynamics without diminishing either. 

SPECTACLE B

—Friday 27 January 2023 – 20h30 (8:30 pm)

—Saturday 28 January 2023 – 14h30 (2:30 pm)

With Guest 

Cie SORALINO 

TITOS TSAI
Sword dancing
Taiwan

“Flowing Sword” is an original creation by Titos Tsai, the world’s only “contact sword” handler. The extreme fluidity of his movements and strange sensation of the blades gliding like water over his body tend to make one forget about the sword’s razor-sharp edges and the ever-present danger of this dance, an elegant, magnificent fusion of juggling, fire dance, and Tai Chi. 

ANTOINE BOISSEREAU
Aerial silk
France

Trained at the National Circus School of Montreal, Antoine Boissereau has chosen to express his creativity through aerial silks, an apparatus whose fluidity is matched by its elegant patterns. In this act, designed as an ode to hope and freedom, Antoine acts as a fellow human facing their own vulnerability. Without constraints, they can finally free themselves and just let go.

FOOTSTYLE
Freestyle football
France

Although considered primarily an individual discipline, Freestyle football here becomes the means of a collective creation. Footstyle is an abundantly skilled group, and one challenge of this act is demonstrating their artistry while still maintaining the pretext of a performance. Choreographed by Gautier Fayolle, “Unisphùre” is a unique experience that combines play and passion, set to three cover songs from the Orchestre Lamoureux.

PEI PEI
Antipodist
China

Pei Pei created her act for the Festival based on the striking contrast between her seeming fragility and the size of the object she manipulates with her toes. Antipodists have always propelled a wide variety of props, but this giant German wheel is downright unusual! Both heavy and prohibitively wide, it nevertheless reveals itself as a fine tool to birth surprising images. 

AGUSTIN RODRIGUEZ BELTRAN
Aerial straps
Mexico

Trained at the National Circus School of Montreal, Agustin Rodriguez Beltran brings us an act with the feeling of a self-portait, inspired by the mythological figures of Icarus and Narcissus. Based on the 12 stages ofThe Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, Agustin seeks to suspend time while on his straps, allowing the delighted and contemplative spectator to feel a sense of peace and beauty. 

TROUPE KOLFE
Teeter board and Icarian games
Ethiopia

Steeped in the very rich acrobatic and choreographic history of southern Ethiopia, the eight performers of Troupe Kolfe have created an unusual number by mixing Icarian games and teeter board. Using their central apparatus as a launching point for some impressive take-offs makes this combination of two very different disciplines particularly fruitful. 

TRIO TETE-BECHE
Acrobatics
The Netherlands / Germany

Trained at the Codarts Circus Arts department in Rotterdam, the trio of Wilko SchĂŒtz, Marieke Thijssen and David Mupanda have made an act inspired by Georges Bizet’s operaCarmen wherein fluid movement juxtaposes the technical sequences. This alternation allows them to express a wide range of emotions in which rivalry and jealousy combine with comaraderie and trust. 

ROXANA KÜWEN
Juggling
Germany / Iran

Juggling is probably one of the circus arts best suited to taking new side paths. Trained at the Fontys Academy of Circus and Performance Art, Roxana juggles with
 her feet! But this is no act of antipodism in the strict sense of the word
 rather, it is a feat of skilled manipulation, one which makes the eye stray onto a strange creature that seemingly has four feet and twenty fingers. It is our own perceptions that must adapt to this ultimately very human configuration.

DUO ONE TWO ONE
Vertical rope and hair suspension
Brazil

Mainà Yamachi and Guilherme Fortes, a couple in real life as well as on the stage, desired nothing more than to fuse their talents into a unique creation. Designed as a struggle of two forces confronting one another to better free themselves through acceptance, “Anima” is a reflection on duality—a time and space in which the masculine and feminine at times escape from balance and precision, creating all-new archetypes.

CARLO CERATO
Juggling
Italy

Trained in Turin at the FLIC Contemporary Circus School and at the National Centre for Circus Arts of Chñlons-en-Champagne, Carlo Cerato is a unique juggler, committed to continuously improving the style of his act. Combining clubs, balls, and rings with two helicopters and a pink swimming cap, he has created a solo that is both ironic and powerful, which ends, in his own words, “like all good solos,” with a dramatic sequence. 

GUSTAVO & NEREA
Static trapeze
Spain

Former high-level gymnasts Gustavo Sartori and Nerea Eiranova decided to come together in a trapeze duo act combining circus techniques and gymnastics vocabulary. The fusion of two worlds that share so many defining features allows them to combine power and fluidity, as well as create new and spectacular patterns. Their act will make its world premiere at this Festival.

HNG THEAN LEONG
Diabolo
Malaysia

Trained in Taiwan, Hng Thean Leong is the first artist in Cirque de Demain history to represent Malaysia. Now he brings us all an extraordinary act deploying both his staggering skill and diabolical precision! “Wings” is both an allegory of crazy hope and the expression of a young Malay’s visceral desire to express his creativity in a country that does not care. 

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Wow! With so many awesome artists on the slate, fun events, and new ways to meet new people through ClubPro, it’s no surprise that so many in the circus world can’t wait to finally see what the 42nd Cirque de Demain festival has in store for us in 2023.And the enthusiasm doesn’t just go one way, either. When we asked him the most exciting thing about this year’s event, Pascal Jacob said, on his own behalf and for his fellow organizers, “the most exciting thing is to finally be back together, to connect again with each other. It is crazy to observe the amount of change that happened during those three missing years !”

Parts of this article text are derived from modified press materials from the Cirque de Demain press team, including some translated from the original French, and here compiled. All images of artists shared by the press team, and the rights belong to the respective photographers.
Carolyn Klein
Content Writer -United States
Carolyn Klein is a writer, poet, and circus fan from the Washington, D.C, area. Writing stories about the circus has been a dream of hers since getting introduced to circus fiction around 2014. She recently completed her B.A. in English and Creative Writing, magna cum laude, at George Mason University. As a new member of the Circus Talk journalism team, Carolyn looks forward to learning as much as she can about the industry and people behind circus.
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Carolyn Klein

Carolyn Klein is a writer, poet, and circus fan from the Washington, D.C, area. Writing stories about the circus has been a dream of hers since getting introduced to circus fiction around 2014. She recently completed her B.A. in English and Creative Writing, magna cum laude, at George Mason University. As a new member of the Circus Talk journalism team, Carolyn looks forward to learning as much as she can about the industry and people behind circus.