LEME 2023 - Exploring the Boundaries of Circus and Space

Circus News

LEME 2023 – Exploring the Boundaries of Circus and Space

Circus, as an art form, has always been about pushing boundaries, defying gravity, and challenging the norms. LEME, the contemporary circus festival, has taken this ethos to heart, pushing the envelope year after year. The upcoming 2023 edition promises to be no different, as it dives headfirst into the intriguing relationship between circus and space. Set to take place from November 30th to December 3rd in the picturesque town of Ílhavo, Portugal, this festival is poised to be a transformative experience for both artists and audiences alike.

LEME is not your average circus festival. It’s a celebration of emerging artistic creation, a call to reclaim unconventional spaces, and a platform that encourages reflection and critical thinking. More than just a showcase of talent, LEME fosters discussions, encourages experimentation, and sparks debates among professionals in the field. It’s a meeting point for those who are passionate about the art of circus and its evolution.

In 2023, the festival takes a bold step forward by delving into the intriguing connection between circus and space. Artists from around the world will descend upon Ílhavo to explore new artistic perspectives that challenge our understanding of space and circus apparatuses. LEME aims to transform Ílhavo into a hub of innovative and audacious artistic expression. It’s an exploration of the diverse languages of contemporary circus, an endeavor to discover new artistic approaches, and a celebration of the power of experimentation.

A standout event during the festival is the Circus Forum, taking place on December 1st. This day of professional exchange and networking promises to be enlightening and inspiring. The roundtable discussions will delve into the intricate relationship between circus and space, featuring prominent voices in the field. “Circus and Space: Trends, Experiences, and Perspectives” will bring together luminaries like Anna Giribet i Argilès of FiraTàrrega, Tomas Vaclavek of Kolektiv Lapso Cirk, and Valentina Barone of Around About Circus. Another discussion, “Circus and Space: Trends, Experiences, and Perspectives,” will feature the insights of Ana Bragança & Ricardo Baptista of Ondamarela, Nicola Borghesi & Enrico Baraldi of Kepler-452, and Marleen Scholten.

The three-day event also includes the Beta Circus #2 Artistic Laboratory, an integral part of the festival. Beta Circus is a collaboration project that aims to nurture emerging contemporary circus artists and explore innovative works, trends, and languages in Europe. It places a special focus on countries with limited access to high-level circus education and recognition of circus as a form of contemporary art. Beta Circus is not just a spectator experience; it’s a participatory journey that invites the audience to become co-authors, editors, and observers of the artistic process.

The international lineup for LEME 2023 is nothing short of extraordinary, featuring artists and projects from France, Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and the United States. It’s a testament to the festival’s commitment to showcasing the diversity and creativity that the world of contemporary circus has to offer.

LEME 2023 promises to be an unforgettable celebration of art, innovation, and boundary-pushing creativity. As the festival explores the intricate relationship between circus and space, it invites us all to look beyond the confines of tradition and embrace the limitless possibilities of artistic expression. In Ílhavo, for a few days in December, the world of circus will be redefined, and the boundaries of space will be expanded. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of something truly extraordinary.


Cie. Circumstances [BE]
2 DEC 21:00
3 DEC 15:00
Venue TBC
55 min
EXIT is an exciting, impressive, and physical circus and dance performance where movement,
partner acrobatics, and balance board merge. Choreographer Piet Van Dycke invited four circus artists, each specialized in a different discipline (bascule, belts, trapeze, and acro-
dance). Four individual disciplines in one collective language.

EXIT shows the meeting of four individuals walking one collective path. In a big, impressive installation with a revolving wall and floating doors, they move in and through space. They propel each other, walk, collide, climb, carry, balance, and transform. They arrive and depart, meet and leave, appear and
disappear. As people, we are always on the go, but what if you can never arrive home
anywhere? And what about the tension between the individual and the group? In their quest
for independence, they need each other more than ever. They balance each other out, but
also bring each other out of balance. A flirt with risk.

Cie. Monad [FR]
Yin 2.0
30 NOV 21:30
Casa Cultura Ílhavo – Foyer
1 DEC 18:00
Cais dos Bacalhoeiros, Gafanha da Nazaré
25 min
Yin 2.0 is an invitation to change one’s perception, to live in a different space and time, to cross
boundaries between worlds. With the voice of Zuska Drobna and the movement of Van-Kim
Tran, this performance of whirling and juggling will bring the audience into a modern trance,
the choreography setting the rhythm of the hypnosis.

Cie. Underclouds [FR]
1 DEC 18:30
2 DEC 18:30
Cais dos Bacalhoeiros, Gafanha da Nazaré
35 min
Inertie brings together circus artists and a sculptor to build, develop, and inhabit a giant
mobile sculpture that will evolve in the public space. We discover a failed spinning top, an
empty volume, abandoned to its circular trajectory. Once set in motion, two tightrope walkers
walk on this narrow, concave, and convex double path, generating unexpected movements
where elegance and poetry meet control and skill.

Companhia Erva Daninha [PT]
Parque Central
1 DEC 21:30
2 DEC 16:30
Fábrica das Ideias – Gafanha da Nazaré – Auditório
60 min
A performance that brings the public space inside, pointing to the diversity of colours, forms,
genres, and actions. A park, a square, a garden, a meeting point, a crossing point. An intimate
human exhibition in the open space. A mirror of the audience; life taking place before us.
Accelerated rhythms and rituals of a hurried society that does not know itself. People
crossing each other, watching each other, but knowing nothing of their neighbours. A state of
emergency where the little things take on great meaning. Those arriving do not know what
happened before. We know little about each other. Only we, the observers, witness the
sculptures of time, the before and after, or what is yet to come.

Coração nas Mãos [PT]
30 NOV 18:30
1 DEC 15:00
2 DEC 15:00
3 DEC 11:00
Laboratório Artes – Teatro da Vista Alegre
45 min
Immersion. Apathy. Apnea. Emotional depths, pitch. When everything moves at the speed of
light, a fade. Electricity as a conducting wire, as an invisible flow, as a weave. A metaphor for
mental health. A light in the background of darkness. The hope of recovering one’s own light,
the lightness of the inner child. A search for a state of calm, serenity, and balance. Back to
being full. Return to being luminescent. Being in the Here and Now, solar and happy. Simply

Dayse Albuquerque [BR]
Por debaixo dos panos
30 NOV 17:30
1 DEC 16:00
2 DEC 17:30
Casa da Cultura de Ílhavo – Galeria
15 min
Guided by poetry: “What’s in me,” by Álvaro Campos, the performer finds herself in a living room,
inhabited by a tired body that shares its unconventional daily life with the public.

Inês Pinho [PT]
Os gatos caem sempre de cara ou como salvar as abelhas
1 DEC 14:30
2 DEC 14:30
3 DEC 10:30
Laboratório Artes – Teatro da Vista Alegre – Sala Branca
25 min
I invite you to visit this place of mine. Before entering, it may be necessary to take off your
shoes and turn off your desire to understand. Nestled between the poetic and the surreal, we’ll
celebrate the absurdity of life, chase meaning like a cat chases a string, and hopefully fall back
into the fractured nature of human thoughts and actions. The chicken has already crossed the
street, but I’ll leave you here, among the flock, in a world that constantly pulls us in different

Kolektiv Lapso Cirk [ES/SI]
30 NOV 22:30
Casa Cultura Ílhavo – Auditório
50 min
Once again a minimal set design, just a few wooden beams and two people building something
out of nothing. Except that now the stage is covered in microscopic wooden grains. It looks
just like sand. As if we were in the desert, or on an abandoned island. This transforms the stage
completely; it creates a new type of environment for us. An unexplored world full of
opportunities. This new material changes everything. We value it not only for its fantastic
aesthetic properties, but mostly for how much it allows us to explore a whole new level of
verticality that we have never dared to bring on stage before. We are known for the ambitious
balances that we do, but in the past, we never went over a certain height, as the potential for
injury was simply too high. Not anymore though, as this “sand” is actually made of cork wood
grains: it is soft on impact and allows us to explore falling from much greater heights with
relative safety.

María López del Peso e Ariel Pizarro Albornoz [CL]
1 DEC14:00
2 DEC21:30
3 DEC16:00
Casa Cultura Ílhavo – Foyer
20 min
When we occupy a space, what does it really mean to occupy that space? Are we giving it a
reason or are we corrupting its essence? To inhabit the spaces that exist between two
approaching bodies, to reveal the possibilities between contact, balance, and coordination.
Clothing is the space we inhabit. How it places us in a given context, regardless of how we
act or move. They are spaces conceived to be occupied, with a great symbolic load. The idea
is to explore the materialization that classifies our interaction with the world, the closest to the
skin, a social, cultural, moral, and political barrier. What are we dressed for? What determines
our clothing?

Pedro Miguel Rosa [PT]
Mário Neta
30 NOV 21:00
1 DEC 17:00
2 DEC 14:00
Casa Cultura Ílhavo – Planteia
20 min
An encounter between two characters becomes a fun game in which the interpreter tries
to get a positive reaction from a doll. It exposes the ridiculous search for the approval of the
other and the fragility of the ego.

Tony Clifton Circus [IT]
Spiderman is back in Town
1 DEC 12:00
Jardim Henriqueta Maia, Ílhavo
2 DEC 11:00
Mercado Municipal da Gafanha da Nazaré
60 min
What is a Superhero? What is the collective imagination? An unlikely Spiderman, pathetic and
defeated, is suspended at tens of centimeters above the ground, wrapped tight, with a roll of
cellophane, to a column in the middle of an urban crossroads. The image has a force at once
sublime and terrible, but the real show is in the reaction of the passers-by, encouraged (by a
carer who accompanies the Superhero) to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to be
confronted with the normality of the defeat of the invincible.

Wes Peden [USA/UK]
2 DEC 22:30
3 DEC 16:30
Casa Cultura Ílhavo – Auditório
60 min
Surrounded by huge inflatable blue structures and accompanied by electro beats composed
of distorted rollercoaster sounds, Wes Peden performs original tricks inspired by rollercoasters
and their high-tech seatbelts. A spinning plate ceremony becomes a celebration of the great
rides of the past; an epic three-ball disco juggling evokes the evolution of rollercoasters; a four-meter
transparent tube turns into a path around Wes’ body to make balls flow through loops, helixes,
and corkscrews. Rollercoaster twists theatrical rules to create a safe space place to perform
some of the most difficult and unique juggling ever done on stage!

Find more details here

Main image: Wes Peden [USA/UK], Rollercoaster

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