Vladmir Lissouba and Connor Houlihan: How to Make a Living as Circus Artists

machine du cirque

My guests today are Vladmir Lissouba (Instagram) and Connor Houlihan (Instagram) from the incredible circus show called “La Galerie” (The Gallery) from Machine de Cirque. Adam Leffert (Associate Producer of Feisworld Podcast) also joined us as a co-host after watching the show during the Montreal Circus Festival.

Vlad is a Montreal native and Connor is from the United States. He said: “No one ever told me this [about circus arts]. ‘If you have a passion, and that’s what you want, there is a way to make a living out of it’.”

Vladmir Lissouba
Vladmir Lissouba and Connor Houlihan: How to Make a Living as Circus Artists 4

Connor knew circus arts was something he wanted to pursue since age 8. Vlad, on the other hand, was inspired while in college while studying computer science. Together, they shared their perspectives and work and life, and how they’ve been transformed by their experiences.

Circus arts aren’t just passion or passion projects for the two performers. To embrace the art form in the long run, they needed to learn how to make a living doing it as well.

What’s the Show About?

“White. A ploom of color suddenly appears. It is promptly cleaned up. The visitors at the exhibit are delighted to return to monochrome perfection. Little by little, something seems off, things go haywire. The visitors gradually penetrate another world: the set turns inside out. Color appears once again, but now it is indelible. Amused, intrigued, energized, will it absorb them? After the worldwide success of its namesake show, Cirque’s new production takes you to the boundaries of art. With enticing live music and breathtaking acrobatics, let yourself be drawn into this astounding and unusual exhibit.”

Fei / (Adam) as co-hosts

[07:00] How was your experience with paramour? And how did you get started in the circus world?

[12:00] Education as circus artists

[13:00] I always get worried about your acts and the risks behind them. How do you handle risk?

[15:00] I didn’t really know what to expect about the show. How would you describe the show to the listeners (without spoilers)? How did your perspective of the show change with time?

[18:00] (Adam) Circus was the same high-art that I actually understood and could connect with. How would you recommend circus to people? How would you compare it with other forms of art?

[23:00] How is the work behind the scenes distributed in your show (and circus in general)? You often do A LOT of things.

[25:00] How do you guys deal with injuries?

[30:00] (Adam) Has circus changed your perspective of life? For example, when you walk in the city, do you start thinking about all the things you could leap over or tricks you could do?

[31:00] (Adam) How has technology changed the way you learn and communicate tricks with the circus community?

[34:00] (Adam) Can you comment something about the costumes of your show?

[38:00] Do you have travel plans soon?

Favorite Quotes

This can be my life. No one ever told me that. It’s not something people tell you in school, like, by the way, if you have a passion, and that’s what you want, there is a way to make a living out of it.

It is work but like you say at the end of the day, we mostly work for ourselves, we don’t really have a boss. I mean, take the connection is very human. And in circus no one can tell you what to do. You’re always your own master. At the end of the day, you decide whether or not you want to perform a trick because it’s your life that’s on the line, it’s your health.

Our show like La Galerie is on the very theatrical side of things. Seven fingers also usually create a very theatrical circus, other circus are closer to contemporary dance. Others will have a lot of live music. Our show also contains live music, there’s no rules. So we could be singing, we could be dancing, we could be walking through the audience, we could be involving the audience in it. We could be you know, working with a crane, or throwing plates breaking plates.

So we are definitely not also alone doing every alone. We have people helping us out a lot but I think circus would you seen it in the show, it’s not about like how every individual shines. It’s about how, as a team, we can build things together. We try to be good team players, because that’s just more fun.

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