May 31, 2013 by annmquintero
One of the cooler things about my job is that I get to travel and meet other artists and experience what they do. At a festival like Spoleto, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of brilliant performers! I’ve been quite overwhelmed with the schedule of offerings here and have only just been able to start trying to catch other performances.
After meeting a few of the performers from Le Grand C at our opening night party and talking about their work (while practicing my French), I knew I had to try to catch their show. I became aware of their presence at the party when I suddenly saw two towers, each three people high, suddenly appear in the courtyard. The way they slowly and carefully scaled each other and then lowered themselves back to earth was mesmerizing. Later on, I got to sit with Guillaume Sendron (a former rugby player and one of the “bottom of the tower” strength guys) and talk about the group’s philosophies and work ethic. I was sold!
After waiting an hour for standby tickets to their show on Thursday, I got in. Yay! It had been my second attempt, and I was thrilled to get in. I was seated with a gal working on the other opera production at the festival, and we chattered excitedly about what we were about to see.
The lights came down and in near silence, the acrobats began to enter slowly and methodically. When one thinks of the circus arts, brightly-lit, loud, colorful, and campy tend to come to mind. This was bordering on esoteric. It was thoroughly compelling. For the next hour and some change, we were treated to an extraordinary display of strength, grace, humor, joy, and extreme skill and trust. You could see the closeness and genuine caring within the group. Each one doing for the other.
Why have I stepped out of the kitchen and brought this to you, dear Amazons? A very simple reason… These were some of the most beautiful, strong women I’ve ever seen. The lights would play on their arms in a way that showed you that these were real guns, chiseled and fine. Their legs were thick and strong, their backs rippled as they moved their arms gracefully. There was nothing vain about their physiques; they were pure function. Superb, controlled, elegant function. Beauty and strength in the flesh.
Two moments stick out very distinctly in my mind. The first was when one of the biggest guys in the company lept onto a 2.5 foot vertical (quite narrow) cylinder with the agility of a cat, and stood tall and firm to gasps from the audience. How could such a large man have such grace and balance? The second was when one of the smallest women stood strong as one of the tallest men climbed slowly onto her shoulders. The audience was whispering wildly. How could such a tiny girl have the strength to support such a big man?
And this is where I fell in love with the company. Every member of that company is strong and agile and capable. Looks can be deceiving, and they used that preconception to amaze their audience. Each member has his or her own special abilities, but they all work together towards a singular idea. Each is important. Each is vital.
Functional strength and beauty. Trusting and trustworthiness. Smashing preconceived notions.
Sounds like Amazons to me…