• stjohnscircusfest

Day 4: Generosity of Spirit

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

Managing producer Diana Daly summed up Circus Fest's core and the secret to its success in one sentence last night: “This festival runs on generosity of spirit.” Generosity. There's your final daily theme. The show that goes on behind those you've attended is one that exudes generosity. It also proves that making a fortune out of ticket and merchandise sales or getting worldwide recognition has never been the intent. Beni Malone and Anahareo Dölle's deep love for the circus arts and this desire of sharing it with others are the festival's beating heart. The team they've assembled did not count the hours and spent the last year researching informative content, booking inspiring speakers, figuring how to get highly talented artists to Newfoundland.

A national and proactive wave of generosity opened the festival's closing day. There are circus artists and companies spread all across the country, how can each province help the other? How will Canadians share their knowledge and make skills travel coast to coast? Perhaps inspired by the important topic of community discussed earlier in the week, En Piste, the national circus arts alliance, was at the reins of a pan Canadian exchange. The better provinces work together, the more likely we are to see more circus festivals like ours pop up in the country. Acrobats and maniacs could someday back-flip from Vancouver all the way to Saint John's if provinces and art councils support one another.

If you were by the Murray Premise Hotel yesterday morning and wondered whether or not 12 clowns tried to fit in one tiny little car, be assured that this was no hallucination. Chances are you also stepped on a red nose or two as those funny individuals gathered for their “Clownference.” Spoiler alert: clowns will be prominently featured at our festival's 2022 edition! This one-of-a-kind brainstorming session set the tone for what will be a highly interesting program of shows, workshops, and discussions with those who move us to tears at times and most often make us laugh. See you in September 2022 for more detail, our lips are sealed until then!

Kevin and Gracie did not stay quiet on this wonderfully bright Sunday and hosted our recurring and highly popular Family Fun Day. People of all ages were welcomed at The Geo Centre by two hilarious characters briefly seen in our previous events. The venue turned into another ephemeral big top for this free and bilingual outing. From 10 am to 4 pm, the duo provided laughter in a circus acts marathon. Several of the artists featured in the festival's shows created jaw-dropping moments by taking the stage with local talents, including some of iFLY's youngest performers. Mackenzie Wishart and Mya Rogers rose on the trapeze while a make-up artist was turning a young boy into a tiger. Philippe Normandrau-Jenny allied high-level acrobatics with percussions as a family of four was enjoying cookies freshly baked by one of our best local shops. Volunteers ran left and right to guide people, artists gave all of their energy to the crowd, wonderful designs appeared on faces, all for the good of St John's families. Generosity everywhere you looked!

As entertaining and amazing as these past few days had been, this festival's edition had to end. The Art and Culture Centre's seats were therefore filled for a final performance. That's when Diana Daly, one of the festival's vital organs, reminded us that “dreams are work” and that “it is thanks to dreamers like Beni and Anahareo who incite you to join theirs that this festival can happen.” The Father-and-daughter duo followed and, with such warmth and love in their voices, thanked the audience for taking this fantastic ride and invited them all to return for a fifth edition!

Flip Fabrique's cast then opened the door to a peculiar house where people from different times met, interacted, danced, twirled, tumbled, and juggled. The five artists did not hold anything back and performed selflessly for a crowd that bursts into laughter and applause more than once. A well-paced slack rope performance as well as a highly dynamic baton twirling act generated particularly warm reactions. When the lights went out on this ensemble, festival-goers stood up and cheered for the show as well as for four days of enriching workshops, inspiring discussions, and moving performances. If the rumour that the 2022's program is already packed and at least as good as this year's, mark your calendars right this second. As Stacy Clark said in the “Circus in a post-pandemic world” panel: “Just being here is the best thing about this festival!” Take her word and see you in St John's next September! The circus and its magic will once again transform our beautiful city and you won't want to miss it!

Et en français au festival international de cirque de Saint John's...

La génésoité était présente partour en cette ultime journée de festivités. Des représentants circassiens de différentes provinces ont discutté de support, d'entraide, de partage de ressources et d'informations dans une rencontre circassienne pan Canadienne. Le Geo Centre a offert les meilleures blagues de Kevin et Gracie, des performances enlevantes de 10.00 à 16.00, et de nombreux petits extras pour notre Journée de la Famille.

“La générosité est le moteur de ce festival” a expliqué la productrice Diana Daly avant d'ajouter que “Oui, les rêves sont un travail” et que “Beni et Anahareo vous incitnt à les suivre dans les leur. C'est en grande partie pour cela que nous sommes ici aujourd'hui.” Le duo père-fille n'a retenu aucune émotion et a chaleureusement remercié la foule assemblée au Arts and Culture Centre. Si la rumeur voulant que le programme de l'édition 2022 est déjà fort avancé, sera au moins aussi riche et varié que celui de cette année: à vos agendas et dès maintenant! Stacy Clark l'a affirmé dans l'une des disvussions de cette semaine; “Être ici est l'un des mielleurs aspects du festival!” Croyez-la sur parole et joignez-vous à la magie l'an prochain! Nous nous réjouissons déjà de vous y voir!

- Martin Frenette

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