Tag Archives: circus

Cirque Sublime performs the 15th Annual Wishes and Dreams Fundraiser

Last night Cirque Sublime performed at the Starlight Children Foundation‘s 15th Annual Wishes and Dreams Fundraiser in the Allen Lambert Galleria of Brookfield Place.   The Starlight Children’s Foundation celebrated receiving nearly $2 million in donations from Brookfield Place’s tenants and suppliers.

Opening the show and performing the Holiday Lighting Ceremony was Ariana Shaw (my silks coach!) as the Starlight Princess.

Les Vitaminés (Cbastien Tardif and Vincent Dubé) next did a funny and skillful clowning static trapeze act.

Amy Neumann, in her first professional performance as an aerial artist, wowed the crowd with her aerial silks skills.

Jean-Francois Martel was next on stage where the large man entered a very large Cyr Wheel.

Next up, Les Vitamines returned to the stage for their Balloon Ballet.  (No video as my hands were full of kids instead of a camera).

And to conclude the acrobatics for the evening Duo Voltart (Damien Boudreau and Geneviere Cliche) do some astounding Hand to Hand (not my video as again, I was holding a kid instead of a camera).

Toronto is a great place for seeing Circus Arts!  If you’re interested in trying it out recreationally, check out the Toronto School of Circus Arts.

You can have YouTube play all the above videos for you together using the playlist.

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Toronto Circus Performances November 2012

If you’re interested in being entertained, surprised, and/or delighted this month in Toronto, check out the following options.

  • Cirque Eloize’s iD is in town this weekend only at the Sony Centre (Video Preview)
  • Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna finishes it’s Toronto run this weekend as well.  If you haven’t seen this superb show yet, see if you can still find a seat before it leaves town forever.  Viktor Kee’s Lizard, Lara Jacob’s Balance Goddess, and many other unforgettable acts await you.
  • Circus Orange will be lighting this up at Illuminite in a free show for the tree lighting at Yonge & Dundas Square on November 10.  The ‘Winterfest’ Downtown Yonge BIA will also be hosting many Buskers over the holiday shopping period as well.
  • Cirque Sublime will be doing a free show at the Brookfield Place (formerly BCE place – 181 Bay Street) in the Allen Lambert Galleria Nov 15 at 5pm-7pm in support of the Starlight Children’s Foundation Lighting Ceremony and Fundraiser.
  • Cirque Sublime (at least the Cube Act) will be performing again on Nov 17 at the Sony Centre as part of “It’s Always Something” in support of Gilda’s Club.

‘I on the sky’ at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto

Young People's Theatre LogoDynamO Théâtre‘s I on the sky is currently playing at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto with tickets still available for this weekend’s performances.

My kids and I saw the show today (they perform twice a day for school groups as well as the ticketed weekend shows) thanks to a Toronto4Kids contest win, and it was excellent.  An acrobatic trampolining energetic costume filled play without words that is also touching and heartfelt, not to mention laughter inducing.  If you can find the time to squeeze in the 60minute show, I recommend you do, you won’t be disappointed.  Side fact for my circus followers — two of the actors are former Cirque du Soleil performers.

The program suggests it for an audience of 10 years and up, and YPT suggests grades 3 to 7, but my 3 & 5 year old were engrossed completely.  There is conflict, and bullyish behaviour from the ‘thugs’ as I named them, plus some violence near the end from the ‘soliders‘ but it didn’t seem to register on the kids.For an added bonus to your outing, after the show get a peameal bacon sandwich from St Lawrence Market and head a block south of the theatre to David Crombie Park and you can sit on a back to back green bench, almost like the ones in the show.  Minus the trampoline in the middle.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a video preview of the show.

Plus a special mention to ‘Jeff‘ for overruling the front of house staff’s aversion to my barefeet.

Toronto Buskerfest 2012 Diary

Yesterday I took the kids down to the Toronto Buskerfest . What worked for us last year as well as this, is to arrive just before it opens so we can get the lay of the land and avoid most of the crowds.  I can’t imagine how busy it’d be on a Friday night or weekend because it felt very well visited yesterday afternoon.  We situate ourselves near the kids area and the CTV/CP24 Stage giving us access to a big stage, the shaded kids area, and some bathrooms if we need them (note the business we choose to make use of their facilities does post a sign asking for patrons only — I have no clue where official washrooms are).

We saw the following acts

I had remembered some of the press from Ernest from last year so was looking forward to his show. It got off to a rough start due to technical difficulties (sound system wasn’t powered correctly and it took two technicians to get it going) but while we waited for him to start we got to watch an early preview of Dream State Circus as they performed for a noon-time TV news (which I think we probably we in shot for — anyone see us?), the stilt guys doing this hockey bit, and the creatures the kids really enjoyed were the Giant Seagull people! Ernest gave us lots of laughs (jump over a car on his pogo stick).  A few bits weren’t kid friendly, but it wasn’t the kids area so that could be expected.

We headed into the kids area next for Rob Torres.  He is a fantastic clown, who doesn’t speak at all during the performance (but does make noises), and he really fired up the imaginations of the crowd drawing us all into his world of play and fun.  His show felt completely original and did not have some of the repetition some of the others have (perhaps because he doesn’t need banter which seems to get re-used a lot).

We stopped in at Fancy Pants Kids booth next for the kids to do some dress-up.   Ms Meyer Odell remembered us which made the kids feel really welcome.  We left the tent with temporary tattoos for the kids and a recommendation to see Wolfe & Petersen’s Pocket Carnival.

Daniel Forlano soon tried to start his act, even if some tv-show marketers had invaded his stage and seemed oblivious to him as the performer (one father who was taking pictures of his kids with the licensed characters even complained when “the man with the ladder” walked in front of his shot *sigh*).  His laid back character performance was an interesting change from the usual exuberant buskers, and he tried his best to woo an audience member in his romantic comedy featuring juggling throw pillows, balancing on a ladder as well as standing on the top of a bottle.

We rushed over to catch the end of Dream State Circus’s show back in the kids area.  As they were doing their acro-balance I felt at home putting one kid on each shoulder so they could see over the crowd.  The kids weren’t too comfortable though so I was proud when they decided to squeeze through the people standing so they could get close enough to see for themselves.  One of their balances was like the foot balance my son & I do, which pleased him to see.  Their finale of her standing on his head while they both juggle fire clubs is pretty impressive, but I liked their pre-finale of her doing a handstand on his out-stretched arm the best.

checkerboard guy profile picThis was later than I had planned to stay already, but my son caught sight of The Checkerboard Guy setting up and asked if we could stay and watch.  I’m glad we did.  The only Canadian performer we saw, he was extremely friendly and kept the show at a perfect level for the kids.  Turns out he’s been performing for so long, that an audience member there with her kids remembered seeing him perform in her youth (I took a group photo of them all so got to over-ear the story).

Complaints about the kids area are similar to last years complaints.  Too many smokers — the local business people come out of the neighbouring buildings and use the square as their butt-ground and seem oblivious to the fact that it’s filled with kids for the event (probably not as much an issue on the weekend).  The candy giver awayers didn’t bother with any extra trash-bins so their single serving packaging blanketed the area with plastic.  The square itself isn’t too flat due to the stone layout which gives some of the performers an extra challenge.  Oh, and my usual complaint about the Buskerfest website (Flash ick) was alleviated a bit as I found an html version tucked away.

Afterwards we had a long walk up to Bloor from King St to surprise my wife as she finished her work-day.  I enjoy it when the kids impress me with their fitness.

Signed up for another session at Toronto School of Circus Arts

Have you ever wanted to run away and join the circus?  It’s never too late!

IToronto School of Circus Arts Logo‘ve been training at the Toronto School of Circus Arts for a couple of years now (after a long hiatus), which is Toronto’s premier Circus School, and the new schedule is out for the fall session.  Don’t let the older website distract you, just concentrate on the schedule pdf itself.  Since I’ve been going for a while, I sign up for “Package A” which gives me 4 classes for a discounted price (plus some open gym time), so on Monday nights I do two (I might do 3 this time around), and on Saturdays while my son is doing his class I do some conditions and stretching as well (an important component that lets you do your best on your apparatus).

I’ve made a few videos of classes from last year if you’re a curious what a recreational student can do.

Last year they added ‘Chinese Poles’ back to the schedule, which is something I had wanted to try for a while.

Last spring, after my son had shown me a few of the things he had learned, I tried out the aerial silks for the first time and I’m really enjoying the effort required for this apparatus (note you might not want to start with this class as it requires lots of strength). Note the video says ‘Silks 1A’ — they’ve renamed the levels this term so it’s ‘Silks Beginner (Level 1)’ this term.

New to the schedule this term are ‘Straps’ and ‘Mobile’.  I took an aerial straps workshop over the summer and if it didn’t conflict with silks I’d be doing more of it.  ‘Mobile’ isn’t something I know much about, but I’ve seen them hanging around the school.

They’ve also introduced some new baby & toddler programs to the schedule for those of us home during the day with our kids and looking to keep busy.

Oh, and just so you know you will be sore (for days) after each class. It’ll probably feel really hard the first time, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it’ll come if you stick with it.

If Downsview Parc isn’t an ideal location for you, there are other circus training options available in Toronto these days too.  I don’t have any direct experience with them, but I’ll leave the ones I know of listed here for your research purposes: Zero Gravity Circus/Centre of Gravity, Cirque-ability, FACT Aerial, Harbour Front Centre (only during the summer).  If you know of others, feel free to leave a comment.

And now for your amusement some of the stunts the kids do

And a recent article from the Toronto Sun introducing the school (mostly regarding flying trapeze).