The Festival des 7 Collines will celebrate its 27th edition this year with two weeks of shows that will bring together up to 150 circus artists, dancers, performers and musicians in Saint-Étienne and its surrounding, predominantly from France, but also from abroad. Every year, the festival offers a programme which ranges from premieres in France to the discovery of new talent to global premieres, something which has earned it a prestigious position next to other festivals like the ones in Montpellier, Avignon or Marseille. After a year away, the festival is returning with more drive than ever to defend contemporary creative arts through a multidisciplinary, international programme, this time round highlighting the Catalan creative arts with a Catalan focus and supported by the Institut Ramon Llull.
Catalan circus is currently experiencing a golden age thanks to companies like Random and EIA. The generation of artists born in the 80s and early 90s have been able to find new styles and new ways of expression that have made the circus a land of absolute freedom. Free from creative complexes, they take on the risk of breaking the established rules and enter into unexplored, and sometimes experimental territories, with the companies constantly reinventing the relationship with objects. Often, and without the need to create characters, they seek to transgress logic and integrate circus techniques (Chinese pole, acrobatics, trampolines and many more) in the dramatic composition with ease and beauty. It’s what the artist and circus director Roberto Magro has called ‘the Catalan touch’.
In the case of Núria Guiu, the dancer and choreographer, she is also part of a young generation of creatives, formed in spite of the 2008 crisis which has been able to develop, grow and go from strength to strength, by offering an innovative and, at the same time, international aesthetic at the forefront of the European scene. Taking the professional path of Núria Guiu as an example, her journey is linked to national and international companies, such as La Veronal, Cullberg Ballet and Carte Blanche Company.
Catalan Focus programme
Random Company: Random
Monday 28th June, 8pm.
Fate is searching for the absurd and the unusual in its most crude form. Between humour and danger, the Catalan artist duo Joel Martí and Pablo Molina transform the ordinary and the daily into a show that is a mix between circus and theatre. As the winners of CircusNext in 2018-2019, Joel Martí and Pablo Molina offer an original circus creation which distances itself from everything we tend to see in the world of circus.
On stage, the artists juggle banal activities, unexpected falls and impressive acrobatics. With an infectiously uncomfortable ambience, the duo creates an atmosphere of organised chaos which takes us towards an intimate and comical situation in equal measure.
Núria Guiu: Spiritual Boyfriends
Tueday 29th June, 8pm.
With Spiritual Boyfriends, the Catalan choreographer and dancer Núria Guiu plays with the practice of yoga in the West. As an unstoppable and passionate yoga master, the artist touches on questions of power, seduction and even spirituality in the era of new technology. With finesse, humour and a touch of the absurd, the dancer presents the paradoxes which push us to free ourselves from norms, all by imposing on ourselves extreme self-discipline.
EIA Company: Intarsi
Tuesday 6th July, 8pm.
Intarsia is the delicate art of joining and inlaying small pieces of wood to bring life to an image. The circus artists at the EIA company are experts in this, the only difference being that they put together fragments of life.
On stage, the planks of wood lean, align and overlap, creating complexities, rivalries, power grabs, seduction and manipulation between the four acrobats. With this piece, the company presents acrobatic balances, banquine, mini trampoline and teeterboard acts, through a composition, in which circus, dance and physical theatre intertwine with a tender and sharp humour.
Catalan Focus at the Festival des 7 Collines
Saint-Étienne, from 24th June until 7th July 2021
Random Company: Random – Monday 28th June, 8pm
Núria Guiu: Spiritual Boyfriends – Tuesday 29th June, 8pm
EIA Company: Intarsi – Tueday 6th July, 8pm