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The Passenger – Louis Joyal (Circus Artist) – Documentary Portrait


I’m Louis and I’m a circus artist, more specifically a flyer for Russian cradle and hand-to-hand and I work for the 7 Fingers. It meant moving away from my hometown when I was 14 or 15. Leaving my friends behind, leaving my family behind to train circus. I’ve been working with Sam, who’s my porter, since I’m 16, I believe. It’s been 6 years now I met Sam when I was auditioning to get from the [National Circus School’s] high school program to the college program. and during that week of auditions at school, they tried Sam and I together and they really liked it I don’t see myself working with someone else than Sam, for now. I’m a really stressed person and anxious in life, and Sam has always been there to help me calm be down, and come back to reality that not everything is that stressful, not everything is that scary. Circus is not something that you can do your whole entire life right. because it’s hard on the body but for me, I think I’ll probably stop performing around mid-thirties…hopefully maybe a bit later depending on how my body holds up, how my partner holds up as well. For sure, those disciplines take a lot of trust between partners but sometimes it just clicks, sometimes it needs more time to grow but Sam and I really clicked at the beginning and to train cradle, usually you start with safety lines. We don’t take off the lines until the trick is absolutely ready. I don’t think there is one moment in my life that I did not trust Sam. I trust him completely with my life. Sam and I got invited and selected to perform at the 39th Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. Which takes place in Paris. It’s one of the biggest circus festival in the world and sadly, one week before we were taking our plane to go perform there… I broke three vertebrates We were rehearsing our act for the festival and I slipped out of Sam’s hands, and landed on the hard ground. Not gonna lie, the first time I got back on the cradle I almost cried like, just swinging, he put me down, and I was shaking, I had to take 5 to 10 minutes just to breathe after So it was definitely hard coming back, but having someone that I trust that much and knowing that it wasn’t only his mistake, it was also, partly mine It’s teamwork right. Yes it was hard, but with Sam We really took our time and even now I’m still slowly getting back into it we can say. We’re not at the technical level for the tricks that we were at before I got injured, but now it’s really coming back and now that it’s been a year and a half I feel my confidence is coming back a lot more. Communication is really important for us in circus, and even more in Passager I think. Communication is the key to everything on a stage We’ll actually be talking and yelling to each other on stage what’s coming next This is my first touring show that I’m doing. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s not all the glamour we think it is. There’s a lot of work that comes behind it, dealing with injuries at the other side of the world but, it’s so much fun meeting new people, and doing what you love and getting to travel and see new places the cast becomes a second family and I get to see the world with some of my best friends We have this pre-show ritual called the “Choo-Choo” We all start holding hands and then, we start making sound of a train and then we end with a big choo-choo and the whistle noise of the train This, for us, the Choo-choo represents, First, us being united but also, the journey that we’re going on being on stage is nice, being on stage with friends is even better.

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