How the circus came to town; Le PeTiT CiRqUe dazzles Family Day crowds at Festival of the Arts

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Wonderment isn’t a word one uses often, or not often enough. But wonderment came to the Festival of Arts grounds last Sunday afternoon in the form of Le PeTiT CiRqUe. 

Founded by Nathalie Gaulthier, it is the only all-kid humanitarian professional cirque in the world. (In Friday’s edition, we will go into more depth about Le PeTiT CiRqUe, its history and fascinating inner-workings.)

The young troupe has performed all over the world, they’re internationally famous. And it’s not easy to get tickets to see them. So how did this particular circus come to our town? How did Laguna get so lucky to watch a performance free of charge? 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Jeffrey Rovner

Performers mingle with the crowd before the show

Here’s the connection: Jeff Rovner, whose fine art photographs of Le PeTIT CiRqUe performers qualified him as a first-time exhibitor in FOA just happens to be the father of Haley Rovner, the hula hoop wizard of the CiRqUe. Jeff suggested to the FOA that Le PeTiT CiRqUe would be a great attraction for Family Day.

And he was right. 

Before the show, the FOA attendees were fortunate to experience one of LPC’s ambiance performances, in which the company members mingle and interact with the crowd. 

Once the Technicolor-costumed sprites began the show (they gave two performances), the overflowing crowd simultaneously laughed, clapped, and gasped with awe at the stunning talent of this company. The performers include cirque specialists, acrobatics, martial arts prodigies, a hula hoop wizard, singers, dancers, and stilt-walkers. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Jeffrey Rovner

Staci Ensminger and Haley Rovner (on right), at Jeff Rovner’s booth at FOA

From a diminutive pink nymph folded into a plastic box, to the martial arts duo twirling swords, to the acrobats spinning from high above like red-blossomed flower petals, Le PeTiT CiRqUe took the audience to a different realm, a realm of wonderment I would happily visit again and again. 

At Jeff Rovner’s booth, where the performing arts and visual art came together as the troupe gazed admiringly at his photos, and where friends and family gathered to cheer on father and daughter, Jeff said, “Sunday is a day I will long remember.”

And so will we. Thank you, Jeff and Haley, for the connection that allowed the cirque to come to town.