Story by Karen Paton-Evans
Photography Courtesy MagicSpace Entertainment
With his wife’s ankles locked around his neck, a muscular man on roller skates spins around and around until the couple are almost a blur. It’s an unorthodox way to perform to holiday music, however, there isn’t much traditional about A Magical Cirque Christmas.
Duo Transcend, known offstage as Tyce and Mary Nielsen, were finalists on this season’s America’s Got Talent. Specializing in duo trapeze, aerial silk, tramp wall, diving and acting, the couple are now part of the exciting roster of entertainers in A Magical Cirque Christmas.
When the festive circus comes to town this Sat., Dec. 14, audiences of all ages can catch special performances at 3 and 8 pm on The Colosseum stage at Caesars Windsor.
Feats of athleticism that set the audience on the edge of their seats will be interspersed with comedy and magic acts. Beautifully costumed vocalists shall sing favourite carols. The action is non-stop.
“We are thrilled to be bringing A Magical Cirque Christmas back to audiences around the country in 2019,” says Lee Marshall, producer of MagicSpace Entertainment. “Our amazingly talented cast has been assembled from all over the world and is looking forward to delighting audiences and spreading holiday magic. We hope this show becomes a special holiday tradition that families look forward to experiencing for many years to come.”
Canada’s Zoé Sanscartier and her partner, Virginie Gerbeau of France, are performing in A Magical Cirque Christmas. The women began rehearsing for the show in October, finetuning their duo trapeze act with new music.
Virginie began exploring the world of circus from age six, eventually studying at the National Circus School of Châtellerault in France. She arrived at the National Circus School of Montreal in 2012, where she soon found her partner in duo trapeze, an aerial dance where two people weave and spin around each other while performing acrobatics in mid-air.
Born in Montreal, Zoé loved everything to do with the arts as a child. She was drawn to the circus, believing it could let her express herself as a performer.
Zoé came back down to earth for a moment to chat with Windsor Life.
WL: Lots of kids dream of joining the circus. In 2010, when you were only 11 years old, you began attending the National Circus School of Montreal. What did you learn at circus school?
ZS: “We had reinforcement class to get stronger and flexibility class to not get injured; dance class, mostly ballet, to get the alignment; aerials, acrobatics, juggling and theatre. It was a very big schedule, from 8 in the morning until 6:30 at night for six years. We had four hours of regular school and four hours of circus school. We had to condense all the academic work. It kept us very busy.”
WL: You met Virginie at the school in 2012. A year later, you started creating acts together. When you decided to be flyers and perform duo trapeze, what convinced you to trust that Virginie was your ideal partner?
ZS: “I really liked aerials in general; I thought they were more fun and graceful than full acrobatics. The school made us try all types of aerials. I met Virginie to try this type of aerial – duo trapeze. It just clicked. We had the best time. Communication was great. We had opportunity to try different people, but it ended up Virginie and me. Trust: that took a little bit of time. I think we’ve mastered it by now. It’s not in our instincts to want to let somebody else control our life, right? Sometimes we really have to trust and be like, okay, I’m going to do nothing and Virginie is going to catch me and I have to not think about it. Because if I try to do something, I can mess it up myself. I’ve known her for a long time. Virginie is practically my sister.”
WL: In A Magical Cirque Christmas, what is your favourite duo trapeze trick that you are performing?
ZS: We invented this catch. It’s a front salto and a full swing. We call it the square catch because it looks like a square. We’re really excited to be doing it in this show because it is our signature move and I think it is what makes us unique.”
WL: When you are spinning and swinging through the air, the audience is thrilled, fascinated and a bit frightened for you. What are you feeling?
ZS: “I’m feeling very focused because what I’m doing is very precise. It’s all about the action – when I have to do my actions and when Viriginie has to do her actions. I’m very aware of where my body is in the air. If we miss a finger and we can’t catch, we fall. We’ve got a little mattress below us. I’ve got to react fast if I fall. But usually, that doesn’t happen. I’m very happy to be performing in front of an audience and I’m just having a blast. I love what I do!”
WL: Which act in the Christmas show makes you catch your breath when you are watching other entertainers?
ZS: “Definitely rolo bolo [a difficult balancing act where the performer rocks from side to side on a board or other surface that rolls back and forth on a cylinder]. It’s a discipline that I find very fascinating. The precision that is needed for that kind of act is incredible. He’s stacking piece after piece and climbing on top. It’s impressive because it’s all about feeling – the rolo bolo artist doesn’t see what is underneath him. It gets my heart racing.”
WL: The holiday season is filled with magic, mystery and music. Do you believe A Magical Cirque Christmas delivers all three?
ZS: “One-hundred per cent. It’s going to be enchanting and breathtaking. It’s a high quality show. We have artists from every corner of the world. I personally know some of these acts and have seen them. They are amazing! I’m super-excited to be part of A Magical Cirque Christmas.”
WL: What is your idea of a perfect Christmas? On Dec. 25, what are you doing and who are you going to be with?
ZS: “I have the day off on Dec. 25. I will probably be on the road, on the bus with the cirque tour. My ideal Christmas would be with my family and close friends, of course. But this is what is so fun about circus: you get to be with a new little family of people you just recently met and who you perform your dream job with. I’m very excited and thankful for this.”
Tickets for A Magical Cirque Christmas at The Colosseum start at $28 and are on sale now at caesarswindsor.com.