When I was little, one of my chief ambitions in life was to run off and join the circus, to then undergo apprenticeship with a series of stern but kindly circus folk and wind up demonstrating my skillz to the cheering multitudes while clad in a tastefully spangled unitard. Other aspirations included being a Boxcar Child, being Amelia Earhart, inventing a time machine and being a plucky heroine in one of Heinlein’s juveniles. Clearly my grasp on reality was spot-on.
Anyway, the height of coolness to me was to be one of the trapeze artist. I’m always so impressed by people who can get over fears of heights and gravity and play in the air. For that reason, I’m completely impressed by Elsa Birge. She’s a French trapeze artist/contortionist, who has worked in the circus for years, and who runs a school to teach others trapeze skills, often training them in her own living room. (How crazy/awesome is it to have a trapeze in your living room?! !!!) Her parents sent her to circus school when she was small to get rid of her excess energy, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Photographs by Gerard Harten.
On top of being generally awesome by simple virtue of being a trapeze artist, she also performed with French Gypsy band La Caravane Passe in their show “Le Vrai Faux Mariage”, which is a concert/ stage show designed along the lines of a Gypsy wedding. The result is awesome music and a very cool show, which I’m dying to see. I’ve embedded a clip from the show below, and you should really check out their site if you’re into any of the gyspy music that has been making the rounds of late. I love it.