Anny Laplante is a “flyer” currently performing with Circus 1903 in a breathtaking act called Russian Cradle Duo. She is also a graduate of the National Circus School in Montreal, Quebec.
Russian Cradle Duo is a famously known circus act, where the aerialist being propelled is referred to as a “flyer” (that’s Anny), while the one doing the tossing and catching is referred to as a “carrier” (or “catcher”). The flyer usually starts and ends by standing on the frame above the catcher. The flyer then swings holding on to the catcher’s hands performs releases at the top of the swing, and is re-caught in mid-air.
There are many technical aspects in terms of the strength and speed required for tossing and throwing to be possible. Needless to say that this act is very challenging and dangerous.
I was covered with tears when I first watched Anny perform in one of my favorite Cirque du Soleil show called KURIOS. I cried again the second and third time. Anny’s act felt vulnerable, pure, and brave. In our conversation today, we’ll take you inside the circus world and beyond.
- How is Anny enjoying her performance in Circus 1903 and how does that compare to her other shows with Cirque du Soleil?
- What is the creation process like? What is the most challenging part of rehearing an act?
- For those of you who are interested in pursuing a career in cirque, or know someone who does, this episode is going to help answer many of those questions. From working on the road, to packing strategically so your life can fit in a suitcase for months, I had a blast and quite a few laughs with Anny, who’s an absolute pleasure to chat with.
- We’ll take you to Anny’s origin where she began her training as a circus artist. The National Circus School is located in the city of Montreal (Anny’s hometown). Anny enrolled as a high school student there at the age of 14 and continued her study through college.
- [07:30] You are touring with 1903 since December 2016, how has the experience been for you?
- [08:30] What did you and your husband (Anny’s partner in the act) have to change for the 1903 show, in terms of your routine/performance?
- [09:30] You were part of the creation/design process for the 1903 show, did you enjoy that?
- [10:30] You’ve been performing successfully before the current show, such as touring with Cirque du Soleil. How were you identified to take part in Circus 1903 and how was that transition for you?
- [11:30] Tell us a little bit about your acts on TV shows.
- [14:30] Could you tell us some of the differences in how you approach your act today versus your very first performances, given that it is quite risky? Did you get over fear and anxiety? What was the main factor behind that?
- [15:30] How long ago did you start rehearsing the act you are performing today?
- [16:30] How did you meet your husband and started working together?
- [20:00] Tell us about your origin story and your experience at the circus school in Montreal.
- [21:30] Was your path/career similar to one of the average circus performers? Did you start training at the usual age or sooner/later? How long have you been training?
- [23:00] How was your contact with people all over the world? Is the school international?
- [24:00] You are in constant travel. Did your international experience at the circus school help you to be prepared for that?
- [25:00] What were some of your favorite subjects at school?
- [29:00] You mentioned that you fell a few times. How do you typically fall, what kind of injuries did you have and how do you try to avoid them?
- [31:00] You broke your spine in one of your accidents, how long did it take to heal?
- [33:00] Did you ever consider quitting, when you realized that training was too intense and risk is too high?
- [35:00] How did your parents react when they watched you perform for the first time?
- [40:00] Tell us a little bit about your day, what’s your daily routine?
- [41:00] How long before a show do you have to be backstage?
- [42:00] Do you prefer a circus at a theatre or tent?
- [45:00] What’s your diet and how do you keep yourself healthy?
- [47:00] What kind of supplements do you take?
- [48:00] When you travel, what’s your packing strategy? And how does your current strategy compare to when you started your career as a circus artist?
- [50:00] Do you miss your family a lot? How much time do you spend on the road?
- [51:00] Do you have the chance to go out (and do other things) during tours?
[23:00] There are so many cultures that it is so easy to be like a family. You have people all around the world, you learn from other people and they learn from yours. It’s so fun.
[26:00] I really struggle to find my way and find what I was meant to do. After that, my coach just made me try this Russian Cradle. I started practicing and I was surprised I was good at it. The challenge was given to me to break the fear of doing so incredible things. […] I just fell in love with it, it’s so enjoyable.
[29:00] When you go for it, there will be hard times in everything you do. It can never be easy, because if it’d be easy everybody would do it.
[34:00] When I think myself when I was 14 years old and I that my dream was to be a circus artist, to see where I am today and know all the hard work I did all these years, I’m so lucky and I’m really happy because it’s not everybody that can do what they love in life.