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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
September 28, 2018

Get to Know MACHINE DE CIRQUE


The unmatched chemistry in Machine de Cirque didn't happen overnight. In fact, it took more than a year for all of the pieces to fall into place. Although founded in Quebec City, this Canadian company traces their origins back to 2012, at an event for Cirque du Soleil in Argentina, where Max Laurin, Yohann Trépanier, Raphaël Dubé and Ugo Dario were hanging out after a show. As they discussed their various projects, they realized that they could create an exceptional piece of circus together.

MACHINE DE CIRQUE Acrobats
Maxim Laurin, Yohann Trépanier, Raphaël Dubé and Ugo Dario

Performer Ugo Dario says, "When we first started talking about working together, we were all so inspired! But we had to hold off on our plans, because we were each committed to other projects at the time. Maxim and I were working on the show Sequence 8 with the 7 Fingers company and Yohann and Raphaël were travelling as a duo called Les Beaux Frères." Fast forward one year later to 2013: after finishing their run with Sequence 8, Maxim and Ugo gave Raphaël and Yohann a call. "As luck would have it, Raphaël's brother Vincent wanted to start a circus company—it was perfect timing." Ugo says. "And thus, the Machine de Cirque company was born!"

"At first we had to figure out how to collaborate with one another. We all have very strong personalities, but, after learning more about each other, the process felt completely organic!" says Yohann Trépanier. What made their collaboration click was trust. Yohann continues, "We believed that everyone's ideas were worth a try, and no one was too deeply attached to their own concepts. We learned pretty quickly that if we didn't listen to each other, we'd never accomplish anything."

For the four acrobats of Machine de Cirque, circus has proven to be a rewarding, and at times trying career path. The biggest obstacles aren't the death defying flips or awe-inspiring tricks, it's the less-glamorous parts that can be a challenge. For instance, Raphaël shares, "A lot of people don't realize that you need a good head for business. Most circus performers are self-employed workers who provide a service for a company. You need to know how to manage your finances, how to network and how to sell yourself. It really is a full-time job!"

"It's hard to explain to people the breadth of disciplines involved in contemporary circus," Raphaël continues. In addition to business acumen, performers have to be acrobats, clowns, dancers, actors and experts in their own specialized skills. For instance, not only does Raphaël flip and fly off the Chinese pole, but he also is an expert juggler (and acrobat, comedian and unicyclist).

On top of all of this, there's the very real and present danger of a missed catch or a poorly timed landing. "This is something younger performers sometimes forget," he says. "The risk is real! If you stay out late every night on tour, you'll get tired and slip up at the wrong moment. It's important to know and understand your limits, both on the stage and off."

So, why pick such a demanding field? It's about the joy of performance. Maxim explains, "Whenever we perform, I hope our audience forgets their troubles and fears, even if it's just for a moment. I hope that watching our show reminds them of how life can be precious and full of laughter."

Join Max, Yohann, Raphaël and Ugo at Machine de Cirque as they swing high above the stage, bike upside-down and fly off teeterboards to a live musical soundscape by percussionist Frédéric Lebrasseur. 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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