Logo of the European Union Creative Europe programme
CIRCUS WITHOUT CIRCUS is an interdisciplinary residency programme for artists from Belgium, Croatia, Denmark and France.
Image by Bart Grietens, featuring Mardulier & Deprez.

Project

Organised by 8 partner organisations and co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, CIRCUS WITHOUT CIRCUS is an interdisciplinary research project for artists from the circus field and from all other artistic fields such as music, film, dance, theatre, design, architecture, visual arts, etc.

18 individual European artists, 9 from the circus field and 9 from other artistic fields, have been selected for a residency programme aimed at sparking artistic exchange between disciplines by facilitating one-on-one research residencies.

The overall aim is to facilitate cross-boundary research and to develop and explore cross-disciplinary working methods. As a participant you are invited to step out of your comfort zone, let go of habits, give up control, and open up your artistic process in the encounter with another artist.

The artists

CIRCUS ARTISTS

BAMBOU MONNET (FR)

Primarily works & lives in: France
Age: 29
Discipline: trapeze, clown
Education: Lido, ENACR (FR)
Artistic work: La Générale Posthume, Blizzard Concept

Quote: “The term ‘Circus Without Circus’ attracts me a lot, because it represents all my questions for more than two years. How is the circus renewing itself after 200 years and more of history and research? Can the circus stay circus without a circus? Is it possible to keep circus writing codes without necessarily being prisoner to physical technique?”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Croatian filmmaker Natko Stipaničev

DORA KOMENDA (HR)

Primarily works & lives in: Croatia
Age: 30
Discipline: vertical rope, aerial hoop, architecture
Education: Faculty of Civil engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, University of Split (HR)
Artistic work: The Line, Sound and Body, Cirkus Kolektiv

Quote: “My language is mostly my aerial circus technique, but my goal is to use this technique in new ways and contexts and to change it according to new insights resulting from different approaches. I feel that I already carry values of interdisciplinarity within myself, being in between two careers - circus and architecture. In my circus practice I translate and use teachings from architecture, and they can easily be translated to other art forms as well. Some examples would be thesis about rhythm, proportion of a part in relation to the whole, and the quotation that idea has no form. I think there are infinite ideas, principles and thesis to be explored in different mediums and conclusions to be drawn from this.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Dutch participatory artist Ilon Lodewijks

Picture © IvanM

ELISE BJERKELUND REINE (NO)

Primarily works & lives in: Denmark
Age: 33
Discipline: trapeze, contortion
Education: CNAC (FR), AFUK (DK)
Artistic work: Even the darkness, Feral Festival, Tanter/Vixen, Norwegian Ninjas, Cie le Guetteur

Quote: “When all stage art and everything else closed down due to corona it became more or less impossible to train aerials. So I have trained contortion, character, dance, movement work. In August, when I touched the trapeze again, everything was heavy, limited and painful. I’m not a newly educated circus artist, you know, I left CNAC 8 years ago. But I am rebranding and looking for new ways of finding collaborations and inspiration to keep creating. On the ground.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: French dancer Natacha Kierbel

Picture © Andreas Bergmann

JOREN DE COOMAN (BE)

Primarily works & lives in: Belgium
Age: 33
Discipline: teeterboard
Education: ESAC (BE)
Artistic work: Alone, Together

Quote: “For the biggest part of my professional career I worked in a collective context for bigger circus companies like Cirque du Soleil and Machine de Cirque. The focus was always very technical. Only recently I started to work in a more interdisciplinary and experimental approach, creating my own research performances. At the moment I'm letting my specific circus equipment go and I start using the public space as main inspiration.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Croatian multidisciplinary artist Ivan Svaguša

NICOLAS FRAISEAU (FR/IT)

Primarily works & lives in: France
Age: 24
Discipline: Chinese pole
Education: CNAC (FR), ENACR (FR)
Artistic work: Cie les Hommes penchés, Piano sur le fil, Kafka dans les villes, …

Quote: “As I’m starting new creation projects at the moment, I want to bring some materials I’m working on to the CWC residencies: new circus materials (a Chinese pole in twenty pieces), an element (I work with fire), and wax construction. I’d like to meet a new artist to bring these materials together and reinvent them. I also want to share my aesthetics, and what drives me in arts, which is research on reality. How to play with real constraints altering bodies and intent, I also like to play with expectations and to discover what we do with them.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Italian architect Cristina Gallizioli

NOÉMIE DEUMIÉ (FR)

Primarily works & lives in: France
Age: 27
Discipline: aerials
Education: CNAC (FR)
Artistic work: Libertivore, ScOM

Quote: “I would like to find a way to invite the public to find the artist on stage, as a moving museum, and question the active or passive position of it. I would love to go further than the circus ‘rules’ and go more towards a performative event. I would like to enhance slowness, calm energy and fragility, which in my opinion is sometimes stigmatised in circus shows, I would like not to have to catch the public by being in a strong and frontal energy but slowly make him come to the artists.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Belgian musician Kwinten Mordijck

PETRA NAJMAN (HR)

Primarily works & lives in: Croatia
Age: 21
Discipline: static trapeze
Education: Centre des Arts du Cirque Piste d’Azur (FR)
Artistic work: solo trapeze act

Quote: “I’m in the process of becoming a professional circus artist. This project is a great opportunity to complement my artistic vocabulary by providing an opportunity to meet and collaborate creatively with other artists. Contemporary circus allows a very fine exploration of body and movement. When the body and mind of a circus artist are becoming rich in different kinds of expression, a wide range of dramaturgic possibilities are opening up. To my mind feeling the freedom of expression within the body and mind goes through a long learning process in order to lead to new forms of original and interesting performance.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: British dancer Elliot Minogue-Stone

Picture © IvanM

VILLADS BUGGE BANG (DK)

Primarily works & lives in: Denmark
Age: 26
Discipline: juggling, physical comedy
Education: Academy for Modern Circus (DK), DOCH (SE), AFUK (DK)
Artistic work: Gazart Company, Walking Copenhagen, Into the water, …

Quote: “During my time in circus school from 2011-2018 and since then, my work has often been based on examining how a small detail, something ‘unimportant’, can be blown up into something big and fantastic. For example, taking a plastic bag and manipulating it with the use of juggling and magic, so that the bag changes from low to high value for the audience. Which might get people to value more things around them in their everyday life. I’m curious to see other artists translate that into their own practice. To create something out of nothing.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: French dancer/actor Thalia Pigier

Picture © Andreas Bergmann Steen

WARD MORTIER (BE)

Primarily works & lives in: Belgium
Age: 27
Discipline: acrobatics, Chinese pole, parkour
Education: ESAC (BE), Bachelor Physical Education and Movement (BE)
Artistic work: Be Flat, Ludo & Arsène, Cie du Chaos

Quote: “Our society puts labels on everything. We define people and things by how useful they are. I have the feeling this tendency limits us in our being. Every art form has different subdivisions that in turn are divided into multiple category’s, practices or styles. We should not let this phenomenon limit our creativity. In cross-disciplinary exchanges creativity starts from our inner differences, making it possible to push beyond the current terrain of (contemporary) circus. And most importantly, when applied to my own case, such exchanges make it possible for me to reach beyond my current boundaries as an artist/researcher.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: British designer Harvey Bewley

Picture © Luka Dakskobler

NON-CIRCUS ARTISTS

CRISTINA GALLIZIOLI (IT)

Primarily works & lives in: Denmark
Age: 29
Discipline: architecture
Education: Master degree in Architecture, Università degli studi di Ferrara, Faculty of Architecture, Italy
Artistic work: art residencies in Denmark, Portugal and Italy

Quote: “I am an architect but I have been recently growing a deep interest for performing arts, I see them very interconnected with architecture and I am currently exploring this intuition in dialogue with practitioners who join performance and architecture in their works. I recently won a research grant at Det Danske Institut for Feb ‘21 to study the correlation between architecture and live performance in public space, so I would be very curious to share my thoughts with my paired fellow and turn them into practice by working with a circus artist.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: French circus artist Nicolas Fraiseau

ELLIOT MINOGUE-STONE (UK)

Primarily works & lives in: Belgium
Age: 24
Discipline: contemporary dance
Education: Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerpen - Bachelor in Contemporary Dance
Artistic work: SIDEWARDS, Need cooling?, Sighs, Cries and Lies, Run Elliot Run!, …

Quote: “I have spent years honing my craft, mostly in the context of fairly narrow artistic educations. But now, free from those restrictions, I have the desire to challenge and stretch the boundaries of what I have been doing and see how other practices and art forms can inform my work, in this case - circus art. I believe I have a concrete artistic style and feel confident enough to allow it to be opened, manipulated and transformed.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Croatian circus artist Petra Najman

HARVEY BEWLEY (UK)

Primarily works & lives in: Denmark
Age: 32
Discipline: designer
Education: An Individual Study Plan in Design (MA), Konstfack, University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm. Industrial Design and Technology (BA), Loughborough University Design School, UK.
Artistic work: Performing Objects Studio, exhibitions, design research publications

Quote: “I am curious about the interplay between people and peculiar moving objects. I often work with technology but my approach is material centred and inspired by our playful human ability to imagine and project personalities on to animate objects. By working with circus, I hope to learn more about the body as a tool for expression and play. I hope to experiment on these themes and perhaps discover material relevant for a performance where performing objects and humans are part of the same story.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Belgian circus artist Ward Mortier

ILON LODEWIJKS (NL)

Primarily works & lives in: Denmark
Age: 34
Discipline: participatory art
Education: ACT- FACT COPENHAGEN, DK. Master Teater-Performance –Pædagogik. PIET ZWART INSTITUTE, ROTTERDAM, NL. Master of Education in Arts.
Artistic work: TING, LABRe(w)rite, MindesMærker, …

Quote: “Through my work I strive for a more inclusive and sustainable society. Therefore I create poetic platforms that address social themes and invite people to engage and reflect. Encounters between people are the cornerstone of my artistic practice. The starting point, however, is often a psychological concept, an observation, or a question. It would be a great challenge to explore how to start from a more physical or embodied approach, as I think a lot of circus artists do, but that is an assumption. Researching this assumption is already interesting and makes me eager to dive in.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Croatian circus artist Dora Komenda

Picture © Jasper Groen

IVAN SVAGUŠA (HR)

Primarily works & lives in: Croatia
Age: 38
Discipline: visual arts, music
Education: Academy of Arts, University of Split (major: painting)
Artistic work: many exhibitions, graphic novels, …

Quote: “The reason why I am interested in participating in this program is precisely the interdiscipline that I am developing further in my artistic work and personal construction. Throughout my artistic career as an academic painter, I often looked for more ways to express myself, and they themselves were often artistic, such as drawing comics and illustrations, and graffiti art, or street art. Drawing comics gave my painting work a new dimension, and that is sequentially, the possibility of creating movement, in a still static medium-comic.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Belgian circus artist Joren De Cooman

KWINTEN MORDIJCK (BE)

Primarily works & lives in: Belgium
Age: 32
Discipline: music composer
Education: Master of Arts: Creating music: music production – Conservatorium HoGent (School of Arts), Ghent (BE)
Artistic work: Use Knife, Manngold, Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat, many theatre and dance productions

Quote: “I make my best music when I make it in relation to or in collaboration with another art discipline. I have a lot of experience making music for theater, dance and installations and I really love the extra layers, meanings, feelings, rhythms that the combination of disciplines can add. Curiosity about what these combinations can mean or become, play a very important role in my creative process. The wonderful world of circus seems like an inspiring new direction for me. In addition, I am also very curious about finding a circus artist who joins my musical world (which can perhaps be called alternative or experimental) and of course take my chance to immerse myself into his/her world.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: French circus artist Noémie Deumié

NATACHA KIERBEL (FR)

Primarily works & lives in: France
Age: 25
Discipline: contemporay dancer
Education: Ballet Junior de Genève. Conservatoire de Paris, CRR, DEC classique.
Artistic work: Cie Plan K, Cie Didascalie, Cie les 7 marches, Cie Ex Nihilo, Cie Tango Sumo

Quote: “In my way to consider movement, I work a lot with images and mental projections to transform my body, to explore different qualities and physicality’s. This approach allows me to discover new paths and apprehend movements as textures. The idea is that imagination and sensations inside the body shape an energy that turns into movement. When I work with material, the meeting with this concrete material is quite instinctive. I look for its possibilities, its limits, metaphoric images that can emerge. I’d like to share this choreographic process with a circus artist within these residencies.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Norwegian circus artist Elise Bjerkelund Reine

Picture © Axell Katomba

NATKO STIPANIČEV (HR)

Primarily works & lives in: Croatia
Age: 34
Discipline: film, animation, music
Education: Bachelor’s degree from the Arts Academy in Split, Department of Film and Video, and earned a Master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Department for Animated Film and New Media.
Artistic work: Bonobo Studio

Quote: “I very much like experimentation processes, but am mostly a loner in art practices and would like to change that. As a director of animated films and an animator I mainly work alone from home. I am getting tired of that type of work, would like to change that practice, work more with people and contribute to some collectiveness.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: French circus artist Bambou Monnet

THALIA PIGIER (FR)

Primarily works & lives in: France
Age: 27
Discipline: dance, theatre
Education: Acting degree from the Dramatic Arts Conservatory Jacques Ibert, Paris. Master 2 Dramaturgy at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. Master 1 at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Artistic work: Battements/ Paper Bird, Celle qui part n’est pas disparue, …

Quote: “I work both with objects and improvisation and I would like to see how those things and my practice of Flying Low (among other things) could meet the different practices of circus artists. I’m also interested in working site specific and because I found that the experimentations of a lot of circus companies trying to explore new ways of performing in the city or in the nature really change the experience of the spectator, I believe this program could lead me to create performances with a new gaze.”

Matched for the 1st residency with: Danish circus artist Villads Bugge Bang

Picture © ArnaudBeelen

Partners

MAIN PARTNERS

Circuscentrum (Belgium)

Circuscentrum is the interface organisation and expertise centre for the Flemish circus sector. They invest in the professionalization and sustainable growth of the circus arts, both through active services for the sector and through the further development and disclosure of knowledge about and within the sector – all this in close collaboration with partners within and outside the circus field. Circuscentrum connects and inspires across all kinds of borders and puts the Flemish circus in all its diversity and uniqueness on the map.
Circuscentrum website

Le Manège de Reims (France)

Le Manège, the Reims National Theatre, is a multidisciplinary venue dedicated to performing arts that are “100% movement”: dance, circus, puppetry and the transversal forms in-between these disciplines. Le Manège aims to support creativity and to propose a varied multidisciplinary programme with a focus on contemporary creation; to be an important actor in the regional cultural landscape; and to promote access to culture for all members of the population, whatever their socioeconomic background. Le Manège is an active player within the local community as well as at a broader international level. It hosts two resident companies for a period of three years and is currently supporting two artists through its mentorship programme for the 2020/21 season.
Le Manège de Reims website

ROOM 100 (Croatia)

ROOM 100 is a contemporary circus collective from Split founded by Antonia Kuzmanić and Jakov Labrović in 2010. With their first performance, C8H11NO2, they were awarded as Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe laureates in 2011. Besides producing and distributing contemporary circus performances and other artistic works of the collective, ROOM 100 manages HALA 100 – a venue hosting residencies, performances and workshops for international contemporary circus as well as a programme of film screenings, Kino Cirkus, in several Croatian cities and implementing other projects for the development of the audience in the contemporary circus sector. Since 2020, they also organise a contemporary circus festival, Peculiar Families Festival. ROOM 100 is a partner in the EU-supported circusnext PLaTFoRM and a member of Circostrada network.
Peculiar Families Festival website

Metropolis – Københavns Internationale Teater (Denmark)

Metropolis is an annual curated platform for international performance and art in urban space. Metropolis is organised by Københavns Internationale Teater, which for more than 40 years has created change and development in the Danish performing arts scene through the introduction of new genres and formats. During the summer season, Metropolis presents a site-specific, outdoor programme of performances and installations. They also organise an international residency programme in public space as well as workshops and seminars in the intersection between art, culture and urbanism. Metropolis explores the city, physically and metaphysically. The methodology is the restaging of the everyday through the intermingling of fictive scenarios and real situations.
Metropolis website

ASSOCIATED PARTNERS

nona arts centre (Belgium)

nona arts centre emphatically underlines its role as a breeding ground for new artistic work. Artists are given plenty of opportunities to develop themselves and enter into dialogue with the public in Mechelen and far beyond. nona also works with a number of regular partners in crime: the internationally renowned theatre company Abattoir Fermé, directed by Stef Lernous, and Voetvolk, the Belgian contemporary dance and performance company, founded in 2007 by Lisbeth Gruwez and Maarten Van Cauwenberghe. Since 2017, nona has been organising the Contour Biennale, a unique platform for anyone interested in the moving image which has made a name for itself far beyond Belgium.
kunstencentrum nona website

Césaré (France)

Césaré is one of the 8 national centres of musical creation spread throughout France. Its mission is to foster the emergence of original works at the frontier of musical styles and artistic disciplines through a policy of residency, production and transmission. They are a privileged partner of the artistic and cultural sector of the Grand Est: producer of La Magnifique Avant-Garde, co-producer of FARaway, and today partner of Exhibitronic - Strasbourg. Césaré aims to be a meeting place for artists and the public, open to the world and sensitive to the slightest tremor of creation.
Césaré website

Arts Academy Split (Croatia)

The Arts Academy in Split was founded in 1997. It consists of three departments: fine arts, music and theatre arts. The activities include artistic creation through production and public presentations and various professional and artistic training programmes that are part of the concept of lifelong learning. The Film and Video Department offers an education in the field of film and new media. The BA students acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in video, film and digital media and the MA degree provides highly professional profiles for fully independent activity in motion picture media such as film art, animated film or media art. In this project, the Film and Video Department is represented by tenured teacher Veljko Popović, an awarded and internationally renowned author of animated short films.
Arts Academy Split website

Dynamo Workspace (Denmark)

DYNAMO is a workspace for circus and performing arts located in the middle of Denmark at Odense city harbour. As a production house and cultural gathering place, DYNAMO wants to create sustainable conditions for performers and increase the quality of artistic production through mutual aid. DYNAMO opened in January 2017 in an old warehouse that now houses productions from national and international performers and a yearly festival. They also facilitate the framework for artistic work in progress, development of ideas, residencies, courses, masterclasses, and open training. DYNAMO is a driving force for the development of the cultural life of Odense, primarily for circus and performing arts, and also reaches out with out-of-house activities and collaborations.
Dynamo Workspace website