The company's activity is mainly focused on the production and distribution of large format juggling shows and educational outreach.
The Collectif Petit Travers was founded in 2004. Artistic directors Nicolas Mathis and Julien Clément have led the company together since 2011. The company’s activity is mainly focused on the production and distribution of large format juggling shows and educational outreach.
Since its inception 15 years ago the company has produced a repertoire of 8 major works, ac creation for amateur performers, and four small forms, with a total of over 1000 performances throughout the world (England, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Cambodia, Laos, China, Argentina, Chile, Israel, Turkey…). The company has teamed up with some of the greatest names in dance (Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin, Joseph Nadj), circus (Jérôme Thomas) and music (Sébastien Daucé, Pierre Jodlowski, Ensemble TaCTuS). Several of these artistic encounters have led to regular collaborations, affirming to open-spirited style of juggling which is the company’s trademark.
Each member of the company has open, cutting-edge know-how in the fields of circus, musical composition, or dance. Each performer strives to be open to the practices of the others. Rich individual questioning entails reaching out to the diversity of the other voices. The work requires the courage of solitude, and as a group we try to inhabit theses solitudes with our own experiences. Each discipline penetrates the territory of the other with its own questions, thus making our juggling stand apart in the galaxy of the performing arts.
Our exploration of what is alive is infinite.
Julien discovered the circus and the stage during his youth at the Cirque Plume school starting in 1987, before training at the National Circus Arts Centre. He joined the Collectif Petit Travers in 2006 for the creation of Pan-pot ou modérément chantant. Since 2011, he has been co-artistic director of the Collectif and has participated in the staging of Les Beaux Orages qui nous étaient promis, Les Moissons, NUIT, Dans les plis du paysage, followed by the duets Formule (2017) and S’assurer de ses propres murmures (2020) with drummer Pierre Pollet. Julien regularly leads training courses for young jugglers and for larger audiences in France and abroad. He has been an artistic assistant on Kosm (Simon Carrot), Celui qui tombe (Yoann Bourgeois), Portrait de quelqu’un qui fait quelque chose (Boris Lozneau), L’or blanc (Bonthoeun Houn), Fragments and Dehors. He is equally the rehearsal assistant on Encore la vie.
Nicolas first trained at the Cirque Plume school as a child before devoting himself to university studies in mathematics and philosophy. He joined the Lido creation studio, a circus arts training centre in Toulouse in 2001 and created Le Petit Travers with Denis Fargeton. In 2004, he co-founded the Collectif Petit Travers during the creation of Le parti pris des choses, which won the European Young Circus Talents Award that same year. Since 2011, he has co-managed the company with Julien Clément. He is co-author of : Le Petit Travers, Le Parti pris des choses, Pan-pot ou modérément chantant, Les Beaux Orages qui nous étaient promis, Les Moissons, NUIT, Dans les plis du paysage, Ornements and Encore la vie. He collaborated in the staging of S’assurer de ses propres murmures.
Ursula Alvarez Heredia is a graduate of the CNSMDL (National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance) in Lyon, France, with degrees in Piano and Accompaniment. Eager to share her experience, she also obtained a master’s degree in Education and has been teaching at the CNSMDL in Lyon since 2016. Her versatility has led her to take part in various chamber musical formations and to enrich her musical universe by bringing it closer to the worlds of dance and circus. Pan-pot ou modérément chantant, with the Collectif Petit Travers, thus became the perfect opportunity to bring these two worlds together.
Martin’s interest in juggling started during his youth and led him towards the circus arts. He trained as a hand-to-hand porter, acrobat and trampolinist, trying as many disciplines as possible and was considering training at the National Circus School when in 2002 he met Andy de Groat, for whom he became an assistant and performer for more than twenty projects. He then joined the Collectif Petit Travers as a stage manager, assistant, performer, and co-author of Dans les plis du paysage, while continuing choreographic creation projects for his own company Percept.
Rémi discovered the circus arts at the Lido Circus Arts Training Centre in Toulouse and then at the National Circus School in Châtellerault. He then joined the prestigious Kiev State College of Circus and Variety, where he created a cabaret number under the direction of Yuri Pozdnyakov. Rémi toured extensively abroad before collaborating with several circus companies in France. He joined the Collectif Petit Travers in 2011 for Les beaux orages qui nous étaient promis. He is equally a co-author of NUIT and Dans les plis du paysage. In 2018, he created a solo piece entitled Fragments.
After literary and musical studies, Anna continued her training at ENSATT (National School of Theatre Arts and Techniques) in the Arts Administration Department. Since 2010, she has been the General Manager of Intergalactique, an association for the development of artist residences and an interdisciplinary festival, of which she is the founder. Between 2011 and 2013, she was in turn production coordinator and general manager for the ThéâtrE de l’AnteE, the National Center for Musical Creation GRAME [Biennial Musiques en Scène 2012], then for the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Oullins. From 2013 to 2018, she was the General Manager and production manager of Les veilleurs [theatre company] in Grenoble, a company for young audiences registered with the DRAC and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council. She also plays the trumpet in various musical groups. In 2019, she joined the Collectif Petit Travers as their production and diffusion director.
Bastien has been juggling since the age of 13. The curves, the lines, the rhythm, and the visual universe immediately made sense to him. His practice in the discipline has been constantly enriched by his sensitivity to movement and his aesthetic awareness. He trained at the “Imhotep” Circus School near Bordeaux and took his first steps on the stage in the School’s troupe. Numerous encounters during “juggling conventions” of “Masterclasses” have strongly inspired and guided him in his artistic career, notably with artists such as Stephan Sing, Guillaume Martinet, Maksim Komaro… He works in various multidisciplinary companies (Compagnie Idéosphère, Cirque en scène, Compagnie Ezec le Floch…) while intervening for professional training courses at the Bordeaux circus school on a regular basis or in short training courses. He is performer in Encore la vie.
Denis discovered acrobatics at the Chambéry Circus School. He enjoyed that discipline, but developed a preference for juggling… In 2000, Denis joined the creation studio at the Lido in Toulouse and created Le Petit Travers in a duo with Nicolas Mathis, a show which toured widely. He then devoted himself to extensive training in instrumental composition, which he continued at the CNSMD in Lyon before joining IRCAM and its composition department, graduating in 2017. Following Pan-pot ou modérément chantant which he co-authored in 2009, Denis collaborated on the musical arrangements for NUIT in 2015, took over a role in Dans les plis du paysage and is regularly involved in the cultural outreach activities organised by the Collectif Petit Travers.
Olivier is the technical director and co-director of the scenography for Nuit and co-director of the scenography for Encore la vie. He also served as co-director for the set design, sound design and engineering for S’assurer de ses propres murmures.
Juliette trained a the Circus School in Lyon and at the National Circus Arts School in Brussels, after having completed a master’s degree in literature. Following her degree, she specialized in ball juggling and joined the Collectif after various stage experiences which enabled her to fully explore the work of a circus artist, notably with the Boustrophédon company. She is a performer in Les beaux orages qui nous étaient promis, co-author of Dans les plis du paysage and created Dehors in 2018, a duo with trumpeter Emmanuelle Legros.
Bogdan studied classical percussion at the Conservatory of Clermont-Ferrand. He then discovered juggling and completed programs in circus schools in Lille, Lyon and Toulouse, followed by dance courses in Belgium and Spain to complete his training in music and circus. He then worked for the Cirque Romanès, the company La main de l’Homme/Clément Dazin, and the company Chant de balles/Vincent de Lavenère. Having often crossed paths with the Collectif Petit Travers during his training, he joins the company today as a performer for the creation of Encore la vie with his dual skills in percussion and juggling.
Taïchi started juggling when he was 12 years old and continued to progress as a self-taught artist. He then started training in modern dance and created solo shows with juggling and choreography. In 2017, he moved to France ans studied for one year at the Regional circus Arts Centre in Lomme. He met Nicolas and Julien at a CNAC training session and in various auditions. His juggling and dancing artistry can be seen in Encore la vie.
Jazz trumpeter Emmanuelle Legros hails from Lyon and gained experience on the stages of the region. She is now the leader of the new trio Tatanka. Surprises are in store with this trumpetist who he also been heard singing and playing trumpet in the Tempus Fugit show by Cirque Plume, performing body percussion in the Very Big Experimental Toubifri Orchestra, and in composition work alongside singer Loïc Lantoine. She joined the Collectif Petit Travers in 2017 for the creation of Dehors with Juliette Hulot, for which she composed the music.
Neta is from Israël. In 2010, she began her training at the Circus school in Lyon, where she created her juggling balls solo, which she performed in several circus festivals around the world. In 2012, she began training at the Lido in Toulouse where she continued to develop her artistic talents. At the same time, she was performing with the company Yoann Bourgeois for the creation of Les Fugues. Having completed her training, she joined the company EaEo for their creation All The Fun. In 2016, she set up the company Stoptoi for the creation of the show Loop and in 2017, she joined the Collectif Petit ravers, which whom she had crossed paths during her training, for the short show Ornements and for Encore la vie.
Trained initially in dance in the Bordeaux region, Marie continued her studies at the CNSMDL (National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Lyon) the joined the training program « From performer to author » at the National Choreography Centre in Rillieux-la-Pape / Cie Maguy Marin. She has performed for various companies including the Maguy Marin company, in May B, The Nouveau Jour company, the Étranger Théâtre, the Rhizophages, the Wejna company and the Parc company. In 2008 she premiered her first show WibstückR, then Ahwa which she premiered in Lebanon as part of an international collaboration project. Since 2010, she has co-managed the LIEUES – a shared workspace in Lyon. She joined the Collectif Petit Travers in 2013 for the creation of Dans les plis du paysage and has greatly developed her approach to pedagogy in creative workshops associated with the shows.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Audrey began the Masters in Cultural Management degree program at the University of Lille, specializing in artistic productions and cultural audiences. While completing her degree she worked with the teams from Lieux Publics, the National Centre for Creation in Public Spaces and The Merlan, National Theatre of Marseille as a production assistant. In 2013, with her master’s degree completed, she became the general manager of the Ici-Même [Gr.] Collective in Grenoble until February 2016. At the same time, she carried out administrative missions for the company Epiderme which is associated with the BADA-Office for the Support of Artistic Approaches. In 2016, she moved to Lyon and collaborated with the Dance Biennial, the Albatros circus company and the Théâtre Oblique. Since October 2016, she has overseen tour logistics and coordinated artistic interventions for the Collectif Petit Travers.
Clément is a self-taught juggler. After brilliant engineering studies, he worked for a few years in the aeronautics industry but left that sector to find a new energy. Juggling was his natural calling and he thus continued to work diligently while also training in contemporary dance, working alongside musicians from the baroque ensemble Les Nouveaux Caractères. He joined the Collectif Petit Travers in 2011 for Les beaux orages qui nous étaient promis, then Dans les plis du paysage and regularly participates in the company’s outreach activities.
Pierre trained in drums and percussion at the Agostini school and then at the National Conservatory of Toulouse before continuing his training alongside John Tchicaï, Pierre de Bethmann, François Theberge, Stéphane Fouché and Peter Giron in Montpellier. Very active on the jazz scene, he is currently an in-demand drummer with several groups, such as PULCINELLA, Initiative H, MOWGLI and others. Pierre works regularly in the world of contemporary dance, theatre and cinema and joined the Collectif Petit Travers in 2015 for the creation of Dans les plis du paysage. He co-authored Formule (2017), a short intimate piece, and S’assurer de ses propres murmures (2020), a piece for a juggler and a drummer alongside Julien Clément.
Alix trained in the Lighting department at l’ENSATT (National School of Theatre Arts and Techniques), graduating in 2013. She enjoys concerts as a spectator and has also worked as a stage manager with the electronic rock trio Ubikar and the Lyon concert hall Le Transbordeur, among others. She is fond of hybrid art forms that mix live music with other disciplines ; for example, on projects with KompleX KapharnaüM. She also creates lighting for the theatre, notably with the company Laurence Cordier La course Folle (Le Quat’sous, Ni les chiens qui boitent ni les femmes qui pleurent). She began her collaboration with the Collectif Petit Travers with Dans les plis du paysage then continued by signing for Formule, Dehors and Encore la vie.
2013 : Les Beaux Orages qui nous étaient promis and Les Moissons
2015 : NUIT
2016 : Dans les plis du paysage
2017 : Formule et Ornements
2018 : Fragments et Dehors
2018 : Nos Chemins
2019 : Encore la vie, in collaboration with TaCTuS Ensemble
2020 : S’assurer de ses propres murmures
The Collectif Petit Travers or the art of a blended universe
From Le petit travers (2003) to their current project Dans les plis du paysage, the company has continually explored the fields of music, choreography, and the theatre. It is a deliberate choice of an inventive, contradictory chaos for which they are ready to take the risk.
More than a discipline or a practice, juggling is their artistic medium. A medium that allows them to explore and attain three levels of meaning and interventions, three registers of work and performance : musical, choreographic, and theatrical.
From Le petit travers, their inaugural show created in 2003 to Dans les plis du paysage, their current project to be created in September 2016 for the 17th Dance Biennial in Lyon, the Collectif Petit Travers founded in 2003 by Nicolas Mathis, Denis Fargeton, Céline Lapeyre and François Lebas, then joined in 2006 by Julien Clément, has always been critically engaged in these three fields, relentlessly combining and juxtaposing them, with unique, constantly renewed scores.
Today the collective is now essentially directed by a duo, Nicolas Mathis and Julien Clément, both juggling performers and directors. It nonetheless maintains the composite identity that it gradually forged over the years with its diverse encounters and experiences. What is immediately striking about this company and the multifaceted performances it presents is the mix. A mixture of temporalities and formats, tones and materials, intersections of paths and trajectories, myriad approaches, and aesthetics making it a worthy representativee of contemporary postmodern circus. Dans les plis du paysage is the third part of a trilogy -following Pan-pot ou modérément chantant (2009), and Les beaux orages qui nous étaient promis (2013) – based on what the company refers to as “polyphonic juggling”, closing a cycle devoted to the notion of the “individual as a landscape”. It is a deliberate choice of an inventive, contradictory chaos for which the two young men are ready to take risks, in form as well as in subject, between lightness and tragedy, playfull flashes and metaphysical meditations, the triviality of existence and dreamlike flights…
The gives the company’s shows the strangely seductive and disconcerting dimension of an improbable dwelling, like a friendly inn where Rothko and Buster Keaton, Maguy Marin and Jean-Luc Godard, Samuel Beckett and Ligeti would live together… multiple influences and sources of inspiration that echo the various configurations of each of the company’s six shows : from the crazy, everyday bric-a-brac in Le petit travers in which two protagonists try to survive to Les beaux orages qui nous étaient promis (2013), a graphic, choral abstraction that unites seven jugglers in an impressively precise choreography of throws and trajectories punctuated by a score by composer Pierre Jodlowski, through NUIT, a sharp, short performance filled with magic and melancholy. Three jugglers cross paths, search for each other, dodge and challenge each other with balls […] like sleepless bodies in the grip of desire and longing.
Music first and foremost
Rhythms, sounds, silence, musical tracks and even the physical, palpable presence of musical instruments have always been at the heart of the process as well as the artistic material and the personality of the successive creations of the company. From the musical characters of the petit travers, to the grand piano present in Pan-pot ou modérément chantant, or the journey through the baroque repertoire that accompanies Le parti pris des choses (2004) their fascination with the relationship between images and sounds is clear in each of the shows. In this regard, the collaboration with composer and musician Pierre Jodlowski for Les beaux orages qui nous étaient promis marks an important turning point. For the first time, juggling as a rhythmic polyphony is confronted with a musical score as a whole.
This is undoubtably their show with the most extensive use of spacialisation devices and “sound mapping” on the stage. Using a musical cut-up technique, pieces chosen from the musical heritage are taken ans pasted end-to-end to generate meaning through the shock of aesthetics, rhythms, and the tones produced. Above all, the rhythm of the juggling is emphasised, with its “strong” beats (throws, impulses, fixed points) or “weak” beats (length of the trajectory, waiting time). These are experiments through which the collective has been able to develop a sound score along with the visual score of the show, designing their work from a practical understanding of the shifting relationship between images and sound, an approach which has become its most distinctive artistic feature.
This approach – the marriage of sound and images – which also gave birth to movement, a third body which brings them together, allowed the Collectif Petit Travers to develop and deepen its exploration of its latest project and the central theme of its next creation – “The individual as a landscape”.
Jugglers under the influence
Dans les plis du paysage was co-imagined by Julien Clément and Nicolas Mathis, who trained at the Cirque Plume during their childhood, then at the National Centre for Circus Arts (Julien) and at the Lido (Nicolas). The show digs deep into the study of the “individual as a landscape”, and the juggler’s place in a constantly evolving, dynamic environment. The “landscape” invoked is in fact the juggling space itself. It is a scenographic and dramaturgical landscape, a landscape which is no longer just scenery, but a magical horizon where the bodies and the balls that connect them appear, scatter, and circulate in paths and representation patterns, metaphors of the relations between beings and the world.
In this new ensemble show, with seven jugglers – women and men – the dance is trance-like ; a form of primitive pulsation, the original scansion of the movement of life whose energy is expressed by the drums’ pounding and vibrations. The show thus gives the juggling an earthly foundation which contrasts with the harmonies of the renaissance music and the vocal polyphonies which evoke the sky. The juggler in the landscape also structures time : the time of a glance, a path, or a performance, transmitted to the audience as a sensation. Because the landscape is also the audience, whose silent presence is no less essential to the construction of the theatrical form.