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Matinee: 'Cirque Bijou Umbrellas' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

3 October 2020

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 364th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Cirque Bijou Umbrellas.

Something a little different today, you may be tempted to think, but it really isn't. At the end of the week, when we review dozens and dozens of videos for our Saturday Matinee, we're looking for one thing. Inspiration.

And this 1:23 clip from Cirque Bijou in Bristol, England, inspired us.

The French name is intriguing for a British firm. Founded by circus artists Julian Bracey and Billy Alwen, it reflects their original idea of "making an accessible and creative form of modern circus." Hence the "cirque" part of the company name. The adjective "bijou" means small and elegant.

Small circuses being ahead of their time, the company evolved into creating elegant video productions. Like this one.

"Twenty years in, Cirque Bijou is a sustainable not-for-profit organization and a creative powerhouse with a team of producers and a global network of collaborators, supported by a unique mix of Arts Council project funding, local authority commissions and wide-ranging commercial projects," its About page explains.

Or, you could say (as they do), they make shows.

This one is about having no work. "In the past six months, Cirque Bijou like many performance companies have had no work," it explains. "We decided to make this video to highlight the plight of the events industry and to pay our respects to the National Health Service."

What do you do when you have no work? You get to work.

You put up your umbrella against that rainy day and let its light shine. In all its various colors. Twirling like a horizontal baton as you dance into formations that would make the University of Michigan Marching Band envious.

We just loved it. The drone footage as well as the stills by Andre Pattenden.

Tough times for all of us, no doubt. But as the director cues the dancers, "And change it ... and change it!"

Change it we shall.

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