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
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
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.