Forget everything you know about acrobatics for a moment and picture this: a male performer and a female performer, dressed in casual t-shirts and jeans, carrying each other and balancing their weight on the other person’s stomach, hands and head. There are no strings attached to support them and none of the formal bows or gestures you would expect to see at a circus show.
This week Joli Vyann, an ‘innovative fusion of circus, dance and theatre’ company, stunned the local audience of Bell Square London, at the end of Hounslow’s busy high street, with their audacious, yet ethereal performance Lance Moi En L’air (Throw me in the air). They danced slowly together to soft music, by Xavier Demerliac, a blend of light acoustic sounds and percussion instruments which enhanced the timeless states of their bold and impressively delicate movements.
Ex-stuntman Jan Patzke and ex-gymnast Olivia Quale formed Joli Vyann in 2012 and have continued to tour internationally, captivating audiences with their refreshing take on dance and acrobatics. In the middle of Bell Square, whilst Patzke was crouched on the floor, Quale skillfully climbed on his back. Steadily, he stood up tall without holding her hands. Then, somehow, Quale was standing on top of Patzke’s head, balancing herself on one foot. There, Joli Vyann had become a 8 ft tall person.
What’s more intriguing is the absence of fear between the couple, fear that is overruled by their unconditional trust for one another. Trust is a prominent feature of Joli Vyann that is visible, through and, through their performance. Half of their daring acts aren’t, even, possible, and cannot be executed, if it wasn’t for the couple’s unrelenting faith on one another. When it would seem that Quale was an inch from falling head first into the ground, Patzke would scoop her up and break her fall, in good time.
The dancing element isn’t dancing as you know it, either. It’s a free flow of connectivity between Patzke and Quale, which although choreographed by Florence Caillon, looks entirely improvised. Lance Moi En L’air is a physical dialogue of bodily contact between Patzke and Quale, presenting sensitivity and connectivity through their athletic bodies. Put together, they shared with us, the Bell Square audience, something unbelievably fascinating to watch.
Joli Vyann has a busy schedule for 2017, touring local and international festivals, including the Seoul Street Arts Festival (Korea), the Apetite Festival (Stoke-on-Trent) and the Sziget Festival (Budapest). They are also visiting many indoor theatre venues such Jacksons Lane (London), The Lowry Theatre (Salford), Sadler’s Wells (London) and DanceXchange (Birmingham). Thankfully Bell Square’s local community got the chance to see them perform this year, as it is often difficult to catch great artists, like Quale and Patzke, who are constantly on the move.
For more information about Joli Vyann click here and for Bell Square London’s upcoming events, check here.
I’m a Bell Square Blogger in Residence for 2017.
Have a look at the schedule online
here. Follow them on Social Media here.