Home Arts Iron chains, golden tassels, and a lot of playing with fire

Iron chains, golden tassels, and a lot of playing with fire

by David Adelman October 22, 2013
Iron chains, golden tassels, and a lot of playing with fire


Only one outcome can arrive when you combine circus performers with sensual burlesque dancers. Trouble. The type of sexy, eclectic, mouth-watering, nail-biting kind of trouble that Cirquantique, a Montreal-based performance company, seems to have mastered.

The playful protagonist, Catoo, is just your ordinary chimney-sweeper. But when she falls from the chimney into a lovely state of suspended reality, Horologium’s magic begins and right from the start takes you down a rabbit hole of erotic sensations and hedonist explorations. Especially when two hunks of men, dressed as a god of mischief and the god Pan,respectively, carry off Catoo, followed by a train of wood nymphs.

Just one of the things you’ll see at Cirquantique

A mysterious woman walks on the stage, covered in a thin silken dark cape. Gold-encrusted jewels crown her forehead like a tiara as she strides majestically down the stage. After several short teases this priestess-clad performer reveals what’s under her robe: bare skin imprisoned behind iron chains. Seconds later, her deadlocked facial expression transforms into one of freedom as she lifts the chains. Only the golden tassels covering her nipples remain.

“My act deals with loss and grieving, basically the message being you can break away physically from something but breaking away mentally is an entirely different thing,” Sucre à la Crème, the first performer of the night to break the ice by going nude on stage, told The Concordian.

Keeping the fires in the audience burning, the multi-talented Esmeralda Nadeau-Jasso raised the heat in the room by a few degrees by emerging in a dark, ghoulish robe and skeleton mask, touching, tempting and teasing the frightened Catoo, who stares at the audience with a look of unease and discomfort. Then the dance with death really begins as Nadeau-Jasso, the fire breathing, hula hooping, burlesque dancer/producer of Horologium is revealed.

“I’m a fire-breather, and I always try to incorporate that into my acts,” said Nadeau-Jasso.

Pulling out a torch, Nadeau-Jasso slowly and seductively begins to blow off pieces of her clothes with fire, all the way down into her bra and panties. Forest nymphs and other creatures of the night find their way onto the stage, only to light a skipping rope on fire. Taking a leap of faith, Nadeau-Jasso bobs up and down through the fire; her bra and tassels have burned away and, throughout, Nadeau-Jasso conveys facial expressions full of liberation and self-accomplishment, as if triumphant over fire.

“Horologium plays on the notion of bringing out the characters of our subconscious. It’s a mind-opening sexual dream that explores the realms that each of us thrive to understand and experience,” she said, also admitting it’s not as easy as it looks to undress and jump through a rope of fire.

Nadeau-Jasso told the Concordian that she enjoyed watching the process of how Cirquantique grew.

“Originally, we were two people who wanted to integrate circus performers. Now our vision is to work with a lot of local musicians and to combine all forms of visual/audial art into the most entertaining show ever.”

Entertaining was an understatement. Playing live music was Montreal band Little Suns, who created an original score for the theatrical cabaret. Combining circus, burlesque, dance and music, Cirquantique has taken entertainment to a new level in Montreal.


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