French circus somersaults to Australia


Compagnie XY is performing as part of the Perth Festival.

French circus troupe Compagnie XY has been performing their show, Il N'est Pas Encore Minuit (It's Not Yet Midnight) around the world since 2014.

Following tours in Europe, the Americas and Japan, the troupe has travelled to Australia for the first time this week, performing as part of the Perth Festival.

Production director Peggy Donck said the show tries to push the boundaries of what the human body can create, without relying on nets, ropes or other safety equipment.

"This company is particular because we are only using one thing in circus - it's hand-to-hand," she said.

"I think we succeed in doing something magical. For me, it's always magical, and I've seen it over 300 times!"

Peggy Donck XY Circus France
XY's Production Director, Peggy Donck

The festival's artistic director Wendy Martin said the show was "really about trust".

"You throw someone up as high in the air as those guys go, and you’ve got to trust that someone’s going to catch you. It’s about the trust between human beings," she said.

Each acrobat in the show has contributed ideas for acts and pieces that they can integrate into the show.

Zinzi Oegema XY Circus
Zinzi Oegema, Campagnie XY

After touring through Europe as part of an acrobatic duo, Zinzi Oegema joined XY as one of their acrobatic flyers.

"We had different elements that we wanted to work with, obviously the acrobatics and the group work,” she said.

“We wanted to add a new enjoyable element, so we worked with the Lindy Hop, which is a swing dance, to add another level to the performance."

While the performance does utilise a small number of props, including a wooden platform and a seesaw, every part of the show relies on the strength and communication of the cast – something that is not disguised when they perform.

When the acrobats soar through the air, landing carefully on top of three others who are standing on each other's shoulders, you can see the strain and focus required on their faces. 

Bahoz Temaux XY circus
XY Troupe Chief and Acrobatic Flyer, Bahoz Temaux

Troupe chief and acrobatic flyer Bahoz Temaux said the most challenging aspect of the show is making sure everyone involved understands what the others are doing.

"We are 22 (people) now, but we have others that are in France, who wait for us in case we have an injury or people on holiday," he said.

"We are very happy that we bring this show to all over the world, sometimes it can be weird (depending on the country) but it's always a great show."

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