As the thread on which Antino Pansa exercises in his garden, the future looks unsteady for students coming out of the prestigious national circus school of Montreal, who fear becoming a “promo ghost” because of the coronavirus.
Head upside down, feet pointing towards the sky, the future acrobat Antino Pansa contracts her muscles to keep balanced on the wire for a few seconds.
In the front yard of his home, the student was hung between two trees, a few metres apart, a taut wire to a good meter above the ground. Installation do-it-yourself allows the artist 20 years to keep in shape despite the closure of the school at the beginning of march, because of the pandemic.
“Several months without me cause, that’s a lot,” admits Antino Pansa. “My only solution was to install a wire between two trees “.
Antino Pansa, 20 years old, a student at the national circus school of Montreal.
“I have a lot of constraints : I can’t make all of my figures above… there are trees around, there is a staircase, there are plenty of things that prevent me from training correctly but I still have the form,” he says, proud to have designed this system that it considers safe.
To save his life, the student has accepted a job as a security officer. He should join for about six months in a troop in Switzerland, as soon as they leave school at the end of June, but the contract has been deferred to 2021.
“Big loss “
In a few weeks, the pandemic has showered the plans of the sixty students of this school to international fame.
Rite of passage and a real ” visiting card “, the presentation of the number that marks the end of three years of studies and allows them to be evaluated under the gaze of professionals from around the world has been cancelled.
“It’s a big loss, it’s a big grief to do also because it serves as an assessment and it helps immeasurably to the professional insertion “, recognizes the director of the school, Eric Langlois.
“We laugh saying that it is the promo ghost because no one will be able to see what we can do “, smiles sadly Joaquim Glass.
“It is also very disheartening to say that the culture industry and the show is stalled and completely shut down,” explains the young Frenchman.
Spent 15 hours of training per week in school for three or four hours in his apartment, the juggler of cigar boxes recognizes that it is “very difficult to motivate themselves” but feels “lucky” to be able to continue to practice his / her discipline.
Others can only do and worry about.
“I worked so, so hard to be able to be at my level,” says Joel Malkoff, fildefériste. The American 25-year-old, who was in the habit to train every day, took alarm at the idea of may not be able to practice his discipline on a professional level : “it is this that makes me afraid.”
Labour market closed
Flagship canadian cultural which is fighting now for its survival, the iconic Cirque du Soleil, based in Montreal, has had to cancel 44 productions around the world and implement technical unemployment 4679 acrobats and technicians, 95% of its employees.
Conscious of the new realities of the labour market, the school has set up an entrepreneurship training designed to assist the students.
While the employment rate of the graduates of the school is ” 95% normally “, its director notes “a market is completely closed” and expects a recovery by the ” next 18 to 24 months “. Graduates join usually of circus companies in Quebec or abroad, cabarets in Europe or cruise ships.
The promotion 2020, consisting of 21 students, is ” sacrificed “, but Mr. Langlois expects an “improvement” for those that will graduate in 2021 : “I remain optimistic, it is going to leave “, he says.
According to a survey conducted in April, conducted among 561 workers and organizations in the sector, 66% of the respondents are considering a ” career transition “, according to En Piste, regroupement national des arts du cirque.
At the age of 23, Joaquim Glass sweeps of a reverse of hand the idea of re-and especially to renounce his passion.
“Me, I’ve been trained for five years to become a circus artist, and I find it a shame not to be or to sample this experience. I do not think that this pandemic can stop me in my desire. “