Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Bio: Mathilde Perallat is a PhD candidate in Humanities at Concordia University where she studies the emergence of new circus aesthetics arising from social circus practice in Montréal. Before settling in Montréal she spent several months working with three social circuses in Argentina, Cambodia, and Nepal as a circus instructor. Alongside her research she continues to participate in aerial disciplines as both artist and coach.
Title: Montréal Social Circus as an Alternative Circus Stage: The Example of the Show Le Cabaret du corps Dada
Abstract: Montréal is home to an alternative circus scene emerging in large part from among artists involved in social circus practice. This alternative circus, a “new artistic world” (Spiegel 2016), is a “cirque engagé” (Spiegel, 2016) which carries the anti-conformism conveyed by social circus artists and which brings circus closer to the risks of arts and to the notion of otherness. The show Le Cabaret du corps Dada, directed by ex-social circus participant and current social circus instructor Eliane Bonin, is a distinct example of this reflection and can be portrayed as a circus show that challenges hetero-normality while creating an aesthetic space in opposition to dominant aesthetic norms. I relate this artistic practice to the queer movement in the sense that it represents that of a marginalized group carrying a “dream utopia” (Muñoz, 2009), a collective idealism. I will analyze the show using Muñoz and Cohen’s representation of queer aesthetics as symbolizing “a futurity, something that is not quite here” (Muñoz 2009, 7), as a movement that “confront normalizing power by emphasizing and exaggerating their own anti-normative characteristics and non-stable behavior” (Cohen 1997, 439).