The National Circus School at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games

Opening Ceremony and Cultural Olympiad

MONTREAL, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - As part of the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, 20 students and young graduates of the National Circus School performed the high-flying aerial act. Suspended more than 40 metres in the air, the acrobats executed this aerial choreography before 55,000 delighted spectators as well as millions of television viewers. Previously, the acrobats were accustomed to perfecting their art in-studio or under the big top at a height of roughly 15 metres. The acrobats' solid physical preparation and exceptional spatial orientation were put to the test. "I was delighted to put the School's talented students in the spotlight," said Marlise McCormick, the ceremony's choreographer "and they took on this great challenge with professionalism, creativity and joy." "It was an extraordinary experience," reports the student Thomas Saulgrain, "and a totally thrilling one."

Invited to take part in this extraordinary spectacle, the National Circus School proudly made every effort possible to contribute to the ceremony and to insure its students took full advantage of an exceptional performance opportunity. Last fall the NCS hosted the Games' creative team at its Montreal studios, before temporarily moving a portion of its operations to Vancouver so that the students could continue their education while attending the month-long rehearsals held at the Olympic Village.

In all nearly 30 circus artists that have honed their skills at the School took part in various events surrounding the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. Aerial contortionist Sabrina Aganier featured prominently in the Olympic Torch Relay that touched more than 100 Canadian cities. During the Games, Vancouver welcomed The 7 Fingers circus company for a show at Quebec House, while Cirque Éloize performed its show, Rain, from March 18 to 20 at the Centre for Performing Arts as part of a cross-Canada tour. And Artcirq, a circus troupe from Nunavut, will perform at the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Centre in Whistler on February 20. Of note: all three circus companies were founded by graduates of the National Circus School.

For more than 25 years, Canada's National Circus School has prepared circus artists for professional careers. It has played a crucial role in the development of circus arts in Canada and around the world. Nearly 400 circus artists have trained there, many garnering distinctions at prestigious world festivals, and the institution has become a world reference in its sector. A leader of the circus renaissance in Canada and North America, the Montreal-based school has also contributed to the emergence of several leading circus companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Eloize and The 7 Fingers.

                National Circus School Students and Graduates
                       Performing at the Olympic Games

    Opening Ceremony


    Louis-Marc Bruneau-Dumoulin
    Léonie Pilote
    Alexandra Royer
    Mikael Bruyère - L'Abbé
    Anny Laplante
    Maxim Laurin
    Vanessa Vollering
    Laurence Tremblay-Vu
    Ugo Dario
    Devin Henderson
    Bridie Hooper
    Amanda Orozco
    Thomas Saulgrain
    Lauren Herley


    William Bonnet (2009)
    Tania Burka (2006)
    Pierre-Luc Houde (2007)
    Joanie Leroux-Côté (2004)
    Anthony Weiss (2009)

    The 7 Fingers

    Gregory Arsenal and Yannick Thomas, hand-to-hand (2009)
    Évelyne Allard, aerial hoop (2004)
    Valérie Benoit-Charbonneau and Mason Ames, hand-to-hand (2009)


    Guillaume Saladin (2001)

    Cirque Éloize (Rain, comme une pluie dans tes yeux)

    Nicolas Boivin-Gravel, juggling (2005)
    Emilie Grenon-Emiroglou (1995)
    Nadine Louis (1991)
    Samuel Roy, juggling (2005)
    Anna Ward, balancing trapeze (2003)

    Zero Gravity Circus (Olympic Torch Relay)

    Sabrina Aganier, aerial hoop and contortion (2009)

SOURCE National Circus School

For further information: For further information: Participating students are available for media interviews in Vancouver on Saturday, February 13, and subsequently in Montreal; Marie-Pier Turgeon, National Circus School (office), (514) 982-0859 ext. 248,; Christophe Rousseau (Montreal), (514) 815-6940; Marc Lalonde (Vancouver), (604) 290-5962

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National Circus School

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