Beyond the main stage: L’Homme Cirque
By Amanda May
International Festival of Arts & Ideas audiences this year will have an opportunity to experience David Dimitri’s unique, one-man circus act, L’Homme Cirque. After training at the State Academy for Circus Arts in Budapest and taking intensive dance studies at New York’s Julliard School, Dimitri spent years touring the world with circus companies until he decided to put on the whole circus himself. He now is in charge of everything from marketing and performing to the construction and rigging of his tent and high-wire, as well as live music during the show. Talk about a real renaissance man! Attend one of his events for some light-hearted fun. In late April Dimitri answered a few of The Arts Paper’s questions (via e-mail from Switzerland). What follows is that correspondence.
AM: When did you decide to go on your own and start L’Homme Cirque?
DD: It was back in the ’90s, when I was touring with the Big Apple Circus. I had already been touring for many years, and doing unreasonable acrobatic stunts, when I suddenly realized that I should go on and try something new, something on my own. But, as soon as I took that new path, I realized that I was, in fact, caught up in doing even more dangerous and insane daring things.
AM: What is the hardest part of putting on a one-man show?
DD: You carry the entire responsibility of the performance as well as the entire project. All depends on you. The slightest mistake could cost you a logistical or financial disaster, let alone any kind of injury, which would force you to cancel the performances.
AM: What is a moment that is an audience favorite?
DD: That is difficult for me to say about my own work, but the human canon ball act always goes over well.
AM: Do you have a favorite moment in the show?
DD: I see the show as a one entire performance, as one moment. As there are several refined and poetic moments in the show, I am always reminded that often the purest and simplest moments tend to be the strongest and most effective parts in a show and not necessarily the big “flash and crash” stunts. I like that.
AM: What age level is your show designed for?
DD: To be on the safe side, I would say from 5 to 100 years old. Originally I created L’Homme Cirque for a regular evening crowd, but have later realized that many adults then go home and bring their entire families to see the show for a second time.
AM: How much time have you spent on a high-wire?
DD: I have spent more than a year and a half of my life on the high wire, during which time I must have made about 10,000 somersaults while walking a total distance of about 4,000 miles.
AM: Will all of the performances happen — do they cancel for rain?
DD: I will perform rain or shine unless there is a thunderstorm with high winds. That’s no good for a wire walker.
AM: Who do you look up to professionally or for inspiration?
DD: It’s an inside look of a wire-dancer’s work. It will consist of physical exercises, as well as talking about “balance” in the broader term. A high-wire walker’s view on life balance; balance as a way of life, focusing on and experimenting with physical balance, keeping yourself in balance, keeping objects in balance. (It is not for children expecting a basic circus class.)
AM: Is there an age requirement to enter the class?
DD: Fourteen is the age requirement.
Dimitri’s master class will take place on Tuesday, June 18, at 10 a.m., at Broadway Lofts, 294 Elm St., New Haven. And of course, attend one of Dimitri’s 20 performances, a schedule of which can be found at artidea.org.