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ManiFeste-2016, the Academy – in the Spotlight: Jérôme Thomas

  • What do balls, clubs, hoops, plumes, stools or plastic bags all have in common? They are objects the circus artist Jérôme Thomas can juggle with. The famous French artist, who revolutionized the art of juggling in France and in Europe, will be part of ManiFeste-2016, the Academy. He will lead, together with Mauro Lanza, the composition workshop In Vivo Electro that gives the opportunity to four young composers to work with the stage set of his piece HIC.


    Jérôme Thomas during In Vivo Electro rehearsals in March © Natacha Moënne-Loccoz


    You may have this old idea of circus as a collection of practices that don’t have much to do with each other, such as clowns, horses, or trapezes. Today’s circus is far different: as Jérôme Thomas said, “it starts with the idea that each circus category can be a universe in and of itself”. For thirty years, he has created his own universe; a new juggling art based on poetry, burlesque and technical challenges, and strongly influenced by contemporary dance, music and improvisation. He has invented a new practice called cubic juggling which includes spatial movements of the juggler within an imaginary cube, at the crossroads of juggling and dance.


    Jérôme Thomas © Christophe Raynaud de Lage 


    Like contemporary dance, music has an important place in Jérôme Thomas’ works. Some of his pieces emphasize the relation between juggling and music thought meetings with musicians, such as the series Juggling Hands where Jérôme Thomas and Martin Schwietzke invite a musician, or the series Duo, with several musicians like French accordionists Jean-François Baëz and Pascal Contet or Russian accordionist Sergueï Osokine. In 2014-2015, he collaborates with IRCAM and composer Henry Fourès for the creation of the piece Dels dos principis, a septet with electronics and juggler, premiered on September 30 in the Musica Festival, Strasbourg. In this work, thanks to a technical process that makes balls sound like instruments, the juggler is include in the performance like any other musicians, the writing of the juggling gesture incorporated to composition being one of the main challenges for Henry Fourès.


    Computer music designer Augustin Muller, Henry Fourès and Jérôme Thomas rehearsing at IRCAM ©Hervé Véronèse


    Things will be different for this new collaboration between IRCAM and Jérôme Thomas, for the composition workshop In Vivo Electro. Led by the French circus artist and Italian composer Mauro Lanza, it will be based on Thomas’ piece HIC, first part of the work HIC HOC premiered in 1995, in which four performers create a dreamlike and surrealist juggling with balls, sticks, elastic bands and slabs. During the In Vivo Electro workshop, the four young musicians will compose pieces of music that fit with HIC’s oneiric atmosphere, working on the issues of composing for stage. Come and dream with them on July 2!



    July, 2, 6pm @ CENTQUATRE

    Concert In Vivo Electro workshop




    IRCAM multimedia library 

    Concerts, lectures, interviews, audio



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