Great educational and artistic experiences, the NCS annual shows provide students the opportunity to integrate their learning into complete productions, supervised by teams of professional designers. All the school’s students participate, from preparatory classes to final year graduates, and these varied circus performances take on different forms depending on the level of the curriculum.
Students from the circus high school and preparatory programs will present their accomplishments this year through “Tissage” and “Entre nous” in the NCS’s Chapiteau Guy Caron and Pierre Leclerc.
First-year students, who previously performed in the TOHU hall, will have the opportunity to shine with their “Preamble” presentation under TOHU’s Trèfle big top.
Second year students will present in the NCS, a circus triptych show composed of 3 individual parts linked by their mix of creativity, imagination and comedy. The show is divided into 3 sections: “Avant dimanche”, “Lava cakes” and “La nuit, les ombres”.
Finally, the third-year students will have the privilege of treading the boards of TOHU’s circular room in front of thousands of spectators to produce their innovative, explosive and creative show, “Parades”, which will propel them into the professional world. .
The NCS is honored to collaborate with 7 experienced and talented directors from various fields, who have agreed to come and participate in this creative process with our students. Each guest works with a different group of students as well as with professionals of all kinds to fulfill their visions and bring each show to life.
The NCS first welcomes Marie-Josée Gauthier, a multidisciplinary artist with experience in circus, film, theater and directing, with a unique creative spirit who is behind the creation of “Parade”, this year’s graduating show. It also welcomes Alex Trahan and Uriel Arreguin, two talented and imaginative performers and designers recognized for their talents as actors and authors. With many circus shows under their belts and inspiration from various sources, Marie-Josée, Alex and Uriel have a unique vision and sensibility that they convey perfectly in their creative work.
Marie-Josée Gauthier is a director and an actress, and she has been seen frequently both in film and on stage. In 1994, she co-founded the Théâtre Complice and regularly performs in the company’s productions. Since then, Marie-Josée has been entrusted with numerous theater and circus productions. She frequently gives acting workshops at Cirque du Soleil and has been teaching at the National Circus School since 2006, where she is also an artistic advisor. Far from being her first creation for the School, she also designed and staged the annual graduate shows “Pomme Grenade” in 2011 and “Demain” in 2016.
A 2013 graduate from UQAM’s École supérieure de théâtre, Alex Trahan is an actor, director and author. In circus, he began as an assistant to Anthony Venisse on Les Minutes Complètement Cirque, before founding his company, La Fratrie, with which he produces multidisciplinary creations combining theater, circus, dance and music. In the summer of 2021, he presented his triptych Les étoiles tomberont at the Montréal Complètement Cirque festival and, that same summer, he also directed De mille feux, in the Old Port of Montreal, for Cirque Éloize. In 2022, he co-signed the directing of the Machine de Cirque Giant with Maxim Laurin, during the large-scale event The 3 Giants at Montréal Complètement Cirque.
Versatile creator at ease both on stage and behind the scenes, Uriel Arrguin is recognized as an artistic director, stage director, designer, artistic coach, choreographer and professional dancer. With over 25 years of experience in television, film, commercials, musicals, circus, dance and theater, Uriel transposes his unique personality into all his creations. He also owes his fame to his talented contribution to numerous galas, festivals and major cultural events. This enthusiast of artistic expression in all its forms wishes to add a more contemporary aesthetic touch to the movement of circus arts.
For this 2023 edition, the NCS has also invited three former DCS program graduates to return to the school to share their knowledge and experience during this year’s shows. Jeremy Vitupier (2015, clown), Nicolas Boivin-Gravel (2005, juggling) and Vincent Jutras (2016, hoops skate) have all already toured with major circus companies and will be able to use their experiences to inspire students in their creative process.
Self-taught artist with a degree in social work, Jérémy Vitupier became interested in the performing arts at an early age, followed by an interest in street arts and urban detours. He joined the Montreal National Circus School where he formed a duo with Antonin Wicky called “Les Expirés”, which was awarded in several international festivals, including the bronze medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain and the bronze star at the Young Stage Festival. From 2015 to 2020, he participated in several tours with Cirque Éloize and co-founded the company Marguerite à bicyclette in 2021. He is currently reconnecting with solo clowning and participating in various collective projects. A passionate and multidisciplinary artist, he focuses on constantly improving his skills and creating sensitive and innovative performances.
A former circus artist, Nicolas Boivin Gravel has worked with Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, Les 7 Doigts de la main, Cavalia and many other companies. He is a double graduate of NCS and Innovation Management at HEC Montréal. He co-founded and held the position of General and Artistic Director at Throw2catch for several years before becoming head coach and acrobatic designer at Cirque Éloize. He currently teaches at the National Circus School as a manipulation specialist and as a researcher at CRITAC. At the same time, he collaborates with several Montreal and international companies as an acrobatic designer, director and/or creative consultant.
Circus artist, dancer, actor, stuntman, Vincent is passionate about all movement arts. In 2010, he started dancing, exploring many different styles. In 2013, he is accepted at the Montreal National Circus School to perfect his technique and develop his own style. Graduated in 2016, he began his career as a circus professional by integrating shows by 7 Doigts, Cirque Monti, Cirque du Soleil and Tohu. In 2018, he co-founded La Croustade, with his partner Eline Guélat, a multidisciplinary performing arts creation company that mainly directs its research and productions towards playfulness with the mission of helping to rediscover our children’s souls. For several years now, Vincent has been working with dance and circus companies as a director and choreographer.
Finally, to accompany our trio of former DSC graduates and complete our list of directors, the NCS has called upon two circus arts trainer program graduates, Itzel Viruega (2010) and Nicolas Germain (2006), both coaches and creators recognized for their talents. These two directors each started their careers abroad and collaborated with many circus companies before choosing to come teach and pass on their knowledge at the National Circus School.
Cumulating ten years of training in artistic gymnastics, Itzel was a gymnastics trainer in Mexico in the early 2000s. She entered the circus world with the Mexican company Otro Circo in aerial silks, fixed trapeze, Chinese pole and manipulation in 2004 and later joined the company Fusion Circo Arte from 2006 to 2008. A graduate of the National Circus School’s Circus Arts Trainer Program, Itzel has since taught duet trapeze, aerial silks and straps at the school, among other things. Several of her students have won awards at various international festivals, such as the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain and the Young Stage Festival.
A trainer in circus arts for more than 15 years at the Montreal National Circus School, Nicolas has also held the positions of trainer and artistic scout for Cirque Éloize, as well as acrobatic designer for the Festival Complètement Cirque and Throw2Catch. Graduate of Université des sciences et techniques des activités physiques et sportives in Rouen, France and holder of a Master’s degree in Physiology and Biomechanics of Motor Performance from Université de Rennes, France. He also graduated from the Montreal National Circus School’s Circus Arts Trainer Program, where he became artistic advisor for the school.
During this festive period filled with performances, the NCS also organizes its annual benefit to honor its generous donors, as well as the graduating students’ graduation ceremony just after their last performance. These annual educational exercises in creation, creativity and teamwork would not be possible without the participation of the many NCS professional collaborators and the public’s continued support.