Branché – Art in Nature

Introduction

The grand premiere of Samedis DAR 2022 took place at the D'Arts et de rêves Cultural Park on June 11th with Branché, an outdoor circus show.  Over 100 spectators, children and adults alike, attended the event scheduled at 7:30 p.m. while enjoying the golden light of the setting sun.

Recipient of the 2022 D'Arts et de rêves – Arts du cirque creation grant, the Branché project is a collaboration between Cirque Barcode and Acting for Climate – Montréal, who propose a work that is both committed and full of hope, evoking with simplicity and optimism the subject of the climate crisis while celebrating the strength of community.

Photo:  Agathe Bisserier

The D'Arts et de rêves Cultural Park served as a tableau vivant for the eight acrobats who, during their week-long residency, were inspired by the site to create an original show rooted in the surrounding nature.  Each presentation of Branché is a unique experience:  nature being the one and only backdrop, the trees and other elements carrying the acrobats, as a dance ensues between the artists and the landscape.

One show, four different scenes

First scene

At the beginning, and for many long minutes, nothing seems to happen, nothing but the sound of soft ambient music.  On the ground in front of the residence, the artists, dozing in the grass or cuddling a sculpture or a rock, move ever so slowly then rush a little pell-mell into a game where spontaneously and joyfully they assemble, throw themselves on the ground, fly through the air.  Playful but frenetic movements, where the speed of the acrobatic lifts enchant and amaze one and all.

Second scene

The spectators were then invited to follow the artists around the park, guided by the playful interventions of the acrobats who had taken up positions along the paths leading to the top of the hill.  This interactive stroll enabled both children and adults to immerse themselves in the universe of Branché, an active engagement on their part which also allowed them to commune with the surrounding and intoxicating nature on this magnificent summer evening.

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Photo:  Natasha Evoy,
as well as all the following photos in this article.

Third scene

At the top of the hill a new scene appears, the tone is different:  the cohesion and camaraderie of the beginning give way to individualism.  The look on the faces of the acrobat-dancers is darker, they push and shove one another.  In building a human structure, each one tries to take over, to rise as high as possible by climbing, by using the others, without any consideration for these friends with whom they were playing not so long ago.  Then the tempo increases, the structure rises faster and faster but is shaky and, suddenly, everything collapses.

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Fourth scene

Back to harmony:  The shock of this collapse brings about an awakening.  The acrobat-dancers meet at the agora where they once again reconnect with one another and with the nature that surrounds them.  A more tender acrobatic language develops between them:  the bodies rise and support each other, this time in harmony, no longer in a desire for height, but in a collective momentum of goodwill.

During the last minutes of the show, the spectators had taken place all around the agora and seemed to encircle the acrobat-dancers, echoing the unifying and human message of Branché.

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Branché, an impressive show

The extraordinary acrobatic ability of these artists left no one indifferent.  It was all the more moving because it communicated with force, as well as with grace, the message at the heart of Branché, namely a return to basics, a simpler, healthier existence in harmony with this planet in which we live.

Every detail of the project is an expression of this approach:  the simplicity of the recycled costumes thanks to the work of the costume designer in ethical fashion; tours organized in an eco-responsible manner by hiring teams of local artists to avoid air travel; the reduction of technical requirements to the essential.  As a matter of fact, during the show in the park, sound was provided by two speakers hand-carried from site to site by members of the D'Arts et de rêves team!

Branché reminds us that life can be remarkably beautiful, remarkably simple.  We definitely want more circus shows such as this one.  People stayed on in the agora after the show to chat with one another and with the artists, wishing to extend this exceptional evening while the almost full moon watched over us gently.

For more information on Branché:

https://www.barcodecircuscompany.com/branche,
www.actingforclimate.com

 

By Natasha Evoy