From the outset, Lara Renard does not look at all like Pinito de Oro or Lola, the protagonist of Trapeze who embodied —and never better said— Gina Lollobrigida. But he is also a trapeze artist like them. A contemporary trapeze artist, without sequins, very athletic, with short bangs and shaved temples, who denies the sexism of the old circus and stereotyped roles and who argues that female empowerment is possible from the trapeze. 26-year-old Valencian, living in Barcelona since she was 18 and has already behind her a remarkable professional career that includes having formed her own company (Sputniks, with her acrobatic and sentimental partner, Miquel Sol) and participating in different projects with other groups. . Currently, until January 23, he acts in Sotrac, by Raül Garcia, the show of the Winter Circus of the Ateneo Popular de 9 Barris. Sitting on a terrace with a coffee with milk, she smiles when she sees that her interlocutor —which she carries under her arm to impress the Treatise on tightrope walking, by Philippe Petit (Actes Sud, 1997) – ask for a donut, which they would never do if they wanted to follow the Great Sebastian or The Flying Alfredos in shape.
Ask. Lara Renard looks like a pretty track name.
Answer. Well, it’s my real name, I have a French family. Renard is a fox, you know.
P. How do you become a trapeze artist?
R. I did figure skating and came to Barcelona to compete, then my knees gave out. I studied INEF and I looked for something artistic to replace skating; A friend discovered the trapeze for me and I took regular classes at the Rogelio Rivel school.
All the culture that goes with you awaits you here.
P. Does the circus run in your family?
R. Not at all. Although my father lived for a time in Valencia with a puma.
R. A friend had it in his flat. He died when he fell out the window.
P. Was the one with the trapeze love at first sight?
R. Yes a lot. I specialized in double trapeze, with partner. I also do acrobatic poses, acrobatics with two.
P. What does it take to be a trapeze artist? Apart from courage, I imagine …
R. You only need desire, dedication and effort. And find your personal way of acting, your language.
P. It’s hard?
R. The trapezius causes pain; I have cried just to touch it. The bar does a lot of damage, and the strings do too. The bar sticks in you and you hit yourself with it. The hands have to be hardened.
P. Can I touch them?
R. Yeah right.
P. They are beautiful hands, but how many calluses and calluses.
R. Every day I take a sandpaper and rub them. I also have on the feet and in the armpits.
P. Is there a mystique of the trapeze? The Wallendas, the Codona, the Cáceres, the Arriola, the Macarte Sisters, Tino Orsini …
R. It has something, yes. You are up there, you cannot fall. Life is the same: it hits you, it hurts you, but at the same time, if you have resources, it helps you.
P. Have you suffered accidents?
R. Trapeze, no; doing acrobatics, yes, and dancing I have broken my foot.
P. How does the world look from above?
R. It looks different. Now it is my way of seeing life. I have had to work the vertigo. When I go up I have to sit for a while at the bar, looking at the space, getting used to it. Depending on the height at which you are, it is very impressive.
P. Does the trapeze have exits?
R. In this country the circus is not supported much, there is a lack of a political decision that commits long-term aid. I am a privileged person because in recent years I have worked in large shows and I have been able to make a living from the trapeze and from teaching. The reality is not that. There is a lot of financial support for the circus, at least like that of the theater.
P. Curiously, despite its precariousness, the circus is very supportive.
R. Because it has always been very underground, very alternative, the most precarious branch of the performing arts, and that gives a lot of empathy with people who have a hard time. The circus is also everywhere, it sets up its tent anywhere, it is on the street. With my boy, who in addition to acrobatics and juggling, we spend our savings going around the world and performing in disadvantaged places and conflict zones, in front of people in danger of social exclusion and refugees. We have been in a camp on the border of Uganda and Sudan, in slums in Peru, Chile or Bolivia, in Bosnia …
P. Do you like circus movies? Trapeze, The greatest show in the world, The fabulous world of the circus …
R. Yes, but my favorite is An afternoon at the circusby the Marx brothers.
P. In circus films, well, not in the Marx films, there is always, alongside the risk of the triple mortal, a love story on the trapeze, often a triangle.
R. For me, there is no room for romance on the trapeze. But there is something very nice about entrusting your life to the person you are with up there; to jump you have to trust that they will catch you. Your partner must be willing to break their arms or ribs for you. Is that a love story or a life story? I don’t know.
P. The classic trapeze has been very eroticized.
R. The trapeze and the floor! The trapeze artist has been very objectified, but the fakir also had an assistant in a miniskirt. The trend now is towards not sexualizing women in the circus, taking care of the costumes, changing roles and fighting against stereotypes. For example, in a trapeze pair, the carrier, the one who holds, can be a woman and the agile one, the vaulter, the one who is thrown, a man.
P. Is there empowerment on the trapeze?
R. As in the world in general. There are many artists who understand that staging is a political action, that each choice, such as what you wear and how you are on the stage are transcendent options that define you and your ideas. You must take the opportunity to do feminism from the trapeze.
P. Does that mean goodbye to Lili and Toni Alfredo (Rita Hayworth and Claudia Cardinale) jerseys in The fabulous world of the circus?
R. It means that you have to be able to choose, wear what you want, according to the free expression of each one. I have practical and aesthetic clothes, I can wear a more or less tight jumpsuit or a jersey, it all depends on how you wear it. In particular, I am not a very aesthetic trapeze artist but rather a dynamic one.
P. What do you think of the recent controversy between the traditional circus and the contemporary circus on the occasion of the National Circus Prize?
R. There must be room for everything. I love the traditional circus. If the public likes everything, why delete proposals? We do contemporary, but even in there there are many trends and nuances.
P. From the trapeze, what is your purpose for this year?
R. Or caerme.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.