• Stephanie O’Hanley

Vaudreuil-Dorion’s Festival International de Cirque will highlight young local artists


Local talent: Twins Rosalie and Florence Guay perform at the Festival International de Cirque Vaudreuil-Dorion press conference. Their circus act will be air on the TV5 show Le p'tit cabaret, which features young talent ages six to 16 years old. The twins are part of Festi-cirque's troupe Les Citadins and you'll get to see them in person at the festival's circus arts zone.

Outside the Vaudreuil-Dorion’s Chapiteau Eugene Chaplin there was popcorn on hand and a clown mascot standing on bicycle wheels got people laughing. The festive atmosphere continued inside the big top during a June 13 press conference celebrating the newly revamped Festival International de Cirque Vaudreuil-Dorion, which takes place from Thursday, June 23, through Sunday, June 26.

Though it’s the 12th edition of the Festival International de Cirque Vaudreuil-Dorion, this year the city created a new entity called Festivités de Vaudreuil-Dorion. The organization’s board of directors is made up of Vaudreuil-Dorion elected officials and staff.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon, who is president of Festivités de Vaudreuil-Dorion, said when they took control the board kept the festival’s original principles but revamped it in a slightly different direction, so, “our citizens are proud the festival is here.”

On hand was Sébastien Demers, a health and physical education teacher at École du Papillon-Bleu, who co-founded Festi-cirque, a school circus festival featuring elementary and high school students from Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs schools. Demers also played a key role in the establishment of École de cirque Vaudreuil-Soulanges and has been involved with the Festival International de Cirque Vaudreuil-Dorion for years.

“With the circus festival we have in the schools,” Pilon said, pointing out Demers, “and with what we’re doing and what we aim to do, we’re positioning ourselves as a ‘Circus City’,” Pilon said, noting Quebec has plenty of world renown circus talent.

Highlighting local youth circus talent and encouraging area kids to get involved in circus arts are key aims of the festival. But the festival, which counts Montreal’s TOHU theatrical complex as a partner, is building bridges further afield. Festival-goers will have a chance to meet a seven-member children’s clown troupe from Belgium’s Et qui libre, École de clown de Grez-Doiceau.

Local twins Rosalie and Florence Guay wowed the crowd when they performed an aerial ballet using a soft rope, a circus act that was selected for a performance on TV5’s television show, Le p’tit cabaret, said Michel Vallée, director of Vaudreuil-Dorion’s Leisure and Culture Services department, sporting a red clown nose.

“These two artists started training when they were only in Grade 2,” Vallée said of the twins, who are students at the École secondaire de la Cité-des-Jeunes. “It’s been a very, very long time,” he joked. “It’s been six years. They’re now in Secondary One.”

The press conference also saw performances by Jessie Émond, who juggled hoops, balls, and pins, and École secondaire de la Cité-des-Jeunes students Gabriane Perron and Faith Alexandra Mercier, who swung from an aerial hoop, holding on to one another as they defied gravity together.

The Guay twins, Émond, Perron, and Mercier are part of a Festi-cirque troupe known as Les Citadins, among the talent people will see in a family friendly zone in front of the École Saint-Michel the Festival International de Cirque is dedicating to circus arts. Inside the zone, the École de cirque Vaudreuil-Soulanges will offer people a chance to try their hand at juggling, acrobatics and circus skills that involve balancing while Gymini gymnastics will impress with their gymnastic skills. As well, professional circus artists from Le Fabuleux cirque Jean Coutu will be on hand to offer families a circus experience that includes the trapeze, contortionists, and other circus acts.

Other festival zones include places where people can do hot yoga, play with giant game pieces or enjoy more “regular” versions of board games, do clown-related art or make a lantern, get their face painted, or visit a traditional photo booth.

“We’re proud t