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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - French air acrobats thrill local crowds

French air acrobats thrill local crowds

FRENCH company Les Arts Sauts, a travelling 15-member high trapeze act, is making

its first stop Cambodia on a six-month tour of Asia.

Doerflinger Come, a 26-year-old artist with the troupe, said Les Arts Sauts (The

Jumping Arts) had just begun its tour which would also include Laos, Thailand, Vietnam,

Taiwan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

"Our purpose is two-fold," he said. "We are here to perform for the

country and to train children who are interested in learning the trapeze".

The troupe has set up its operation at the Royal School of Fine Arts, training local

children during the morning and in the afternoon among experts of the troupe.

They will finish with a six-day public performance at Wat Botum on Jan 29.

Nine of the troupe are trapeze artists; two run the lights and sound; there is a

singer and a cellist and two others who handle the organization.

The troupe began in 1993 when the founding members pooled their money together, borrowed

more and designed and built a huge steel trapeze which is the center piece of their

performances. The trapeze can be broken down to fit inside a shipping container in

four hours.

Olivier Horn, the sound technician, said that the light and sound system took longer

to set up and was crucial to the show's success because it allowed for numerous dramatic


Six Khmer youths, three girls and three boys, will train with the troupe for the

duration of their stay.

Two of these children will take a small part in the final performance. One of the

children, Seng Phea Kdei, 15, has been training trapeze for four years. She said

the most difficult aspect was finding the time to train.

"I spend three or four hours actually training on the trapeze each day and then

another three hours studying," she said.

When asked if she ever felt frightened, she said: "sometimes, when I don't have

my concentration."

Phea Kdei was trained by Nay Nari, 26, the staff trapeze instructor at the Royal

School of Fine Arts who began trapeze in the USSR in 1988.

"I'm very happy that Les Arts Sauts have come to Cambodia, it gives us a chance

to expand our knowlege and improve our techniques," she said.

The troupe has suffered only one injury accident in its history. Last year while

performing in Australia Come fell and missed the safety nety, suffering a broken

pelvis and being laid up for five months. Most injuries are minor and occur when

soemone does not land on the net properly.

Sofi Kantorovitch, one of the troupe's newest members, performs the "cloud swing",

various acrobatics while suspended form the top of the trapeze on a heavy rope.

In her opinion, these schools allow people who were not born into circus families

to find careers in the circus.

Chris Tamri, another new member, said when he saw the group perform "it was

like nothing I had ever seen before."

The group were enjoying their stay in Cambodia, saying they were impressed with all

the "smiling faces and kindness" of the Khmers - who are turning out in

huge numbers to watch them train each day.



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