Address by Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the inauguration of the circleHistory and the CNAC’s 25th anniversary evening

«The circus beyond the circle»: through this title to the assonance all
poetic, Art Press magazine showed in a special issue,
1999, how the contemporary circus, the one that brings together and
meet the disciplines, the one who took his source in Châlons, gave himself
its own borders and vocabulary. The National Centre
Circus Arts (CNAC) was the emblem and driving force behind the renewal of the
circus in our country. CNAC is an essential link in the history of the
circus, this long chain of experiments, innovations, and
meetings and creations This channel owes a lot to Bernard
Turin, director of the CNAC from 1990 to 2002, which marked the turning point
educational towards the contemporary circus, founder of the circus school
of Tunis in 2003, founder of the Rosny-sous-Bois circus school in
1988. In celebrating the 25th anniversary of this institution so important in the
landscape of circus and live performance, I can’t help but
think of this secret but determined man, who was described as a leader
of the ephemeral orchestra." This pedagogical and artistic history
is also that of Bernard Latarjet, the current President, that of
Jean-François Marguerin, its current director, that of Louis Joinet,
President of the CNAC from 1996 to 2005, that of Jean Vinet, responsible for
from 1992 to 1998. In this long chain I want to associate the
choreographers, those who have put in track the various promotions of the
CNAC, but also the trainers, the speakers, coming from horizons
the social partners who have accompanied the
structure of this discipline, its teaching and this
school, the students who have invested the stages and the capitals.
For there is no radiant creation without established tradition, against which
sometimes the artistic gesture is built and rooted. The vitality of a
artistic practice lies in its ability to transform and
transfer. Tradition, innovation: these are the two principles, which in a
constant tension, allow to advance. The circus has a large
tradition carried by emblematic families such as the Gruss, the
Medrano, the Bougliones and important brands such as the Cirque
Pinder, tradition to which I am personally attached as
many of our fellow citizens. This beautiful and long tradition is expressed
also from a heritage point of view, this circus in hard,
emblematic establishment of the City of Châlons-en-Champagne, which
today finds its colors, renovated spaces, equipment
in line with current school requirements.
This inauguration reflects the constant and close link between the State and the
actors of the territory - the city of Châlons en Champagne, the department of
the Marne, the Champagne Ardennes region – around this ambition for
the circus. And I am delighted that the renovation of the circus
are the first phase of a larger project, part of the
Plan State-Region contract 2007/2013. The second phase of works
on the site of the capitals, around a former site of silos for the warehouse
of grain products shows the close connection between this great school of
circus and the territory that hosts it. The new site where will be deployed
The school is a few meters from here.
Built and canvas, perennial and nomadic, balance and imbalance, fall and
The circus has been in this creative tension ever since,
it is his nature, it is his profound identity. Art of challenge, a true school of
life and trust for the youngest, the circus is «condemned» to
constantly renew.
In this challenge, teaching and transmission play, as everyone knows,
a fundamental role. The creation of the National Circus Arts Centre,
25 years ago, in Châlons-en-Champagne was a founding act, almost
a «Copernican revolution» for the circus in France.
Johan Le Guillerm, Mathurin Bolze, the collective Anomalie, the collective AOC:
I cannot mention all the talents from the CNAC that created their
company, imposed their style, worn all over the world a form
artistic exception. Nearly 290 artists have been trained by this school,
with a remarkable insertion rate. The study carried out by the CNAC in
2007 shows that 90% of CNAC alumni
circus artists. The CNAC, more than imposing a
brand or style has been able to invent a language and an artistic profession:
Circassian, whose presence is now recognized and identified in the
programming of places labeled by my ministry.
The training principles affirmed by the CNAC, art school in the strong sense
have significantly transformed the circus approach. While
keeping its bases, its «fundamentals» - juggling, acrobatics,
balance - which is the common language of all circus artists,
from one generation to the next, from one kind to another, the CNAC has opened its
doors to other disciplines, he called upon the most inventive artists of
the contemporary scene, he provoked meetings, which were even
sometimes artistic “shocks”. How can we not think of the “
thunder” represented in 1995 by the creation of the Chameleon Cry
by choreographer Josef Nadj: this moment deeply marked and
the aesthetics of the runway arts. New perspectives
are drawn, there have taken root the new generations of artists of
today’s circus.
Over the years a landscape has been forged, a universe has been polished and shaped,
a new artistic territory has been created: 450 artists and companies
a dozen national hubs for the production of
and the dissemination labeled or in the process of being, manifestations
internationally recognized by professionals and audiences – I
think of the Furies festival in this city - a strong presence
on the international stage, hundreds of authentic leisure schools
cultural democratization and aesthetic discovery. All this
shows the vitality and renewed appetite for the circus arts in
21st century.
We must face the future with the concern to adapt teaching
in the field of circus arts with new needs and
opportunities opened by the Bologna Process, in terms of
recognition of diplomas and student mobility. The CNAC
associated with the University of Picardie Jules Verne. Happy
since the novelist loves grandiose machines and
futuristic projects, Jules Verne, municipal councillor of Amiens, was the initiator
the construction of this city’s circus.
My department is fully committed to this project, which is central to
the future of the performing arts. This commitment is reflected in
through the creation of National Advanced Professional Degrees, including the
circus sector will soon be endowed with the same as the theatre, music and
dance. The procedure for empowering institutions to issue the
National Professional Advanced Diploma (DNSP) of circus artists will be
in place for the 2012 academic year. Until then, I know I can count
of the three schools that constitute the French offer of higher education
- the CNAC, Rosny, Fratellini- for having
training stream. I know this topic has led to
a lot of work, sometimes tension, but I feel that thanks to
the involvement of all, following the report submitted by Jérôme Bouët on this
subject, we will not undo a story, a memory trail, to
which, I know, Circassian artists are very attached, but succeed in
to think of the future by building on the remarkable foundations of the past.
It remains for us to clarify the field of so-called preparatory schools, which
offer quality education, which I would like him to have access to
to greater recognition. I recently visited
Châtellerault, where I was able to see the work done in this school and
the only «Cirque» option baccalaureate created in France.
I also appreciate the importance of leisure schools and the appeal that can
circus for many young people, this is a true
enthusiasm that I am delighted with. But in the face of this phenomenon, it is our duty
of the public authorities to concern themselves with the quality of trainers.
It is obvious from the physical commitment that
demand these disciplines, with risks also, so often strong,
they face. As you know, after a long process of reflection
shared between circus professionals, social partners and teams
a State Diploma, attesting to the competence to
to transmit this art, has just been created (decree of 22 March 2011). This diploma
is intended to serve as a reference in all teaching situations
of the circus: associative schools, school interventions, workshops
awareness and training in circus arts.
25 years may seem short and yet it’s already a lot, it’s age
of maturity, of the first assessments, it is also that of the projects and
all the daring. I know that the places where the circus is performed are
places that have experienced shocks, jolts, deep fractures,
accidents also: the CNAC has also experienced, including recently,
these times and here I want to express my gratitude to all those
those who accompanied these “troubled times”, those who
the passion of the circus before any other consideration, which knew how to comfort
this institution. I know that in all phases of its existence,
in all its projects, in particular as regards vocational integration, the
The Centre has always been able to listen to local authorities.
I can feel the artists crawling through the corridors and above the hangers
of this magnificent vault. A few thousand kilometers from here on the other
Mediterranean, in Morocco, their comrades of the 22nd class,
present their show «âm», signed by Stéphane
Ricordel, in front of audiences I imagine many.
I am convinced that the crucible of tomorrow’s circus is at work here, in
Shawls, in this territory constantly reinvented, constantly pushed back
that is the track, in a constant dialogue between gesture, performance and
aesthetic emotion. This adventure, this long chain, I wish
that it continues and that it is part of the
and the historical footprint left by the Centre.. My
presence translates the place that the State gives to this «circus of the movement»
which is also the circus of all languages, all vocabularies and
all possible . So, let’s go to the circus!