Circus performer Nicolas Jelmoni on a giant leap from Monaco to New York

Found his calling and joined the Circus… school

Nicolas Jelmoni was born in the Principality of Monaco in 1991, and grew up with his parents Caroline and Jean-Pierre, younger brother Alexandre and an older half-brother Stephane, from his dad’s side. Nicolas is a really outgoing, full of energy, smiling and friendly young man who started doing gymnastics and hip-hop dancing at an early age. He later focused on diving at a national level, but as soon as he graduated from high school, he found his calling and enrolled in Circus school.

Training with the masters and meeting Charlotte

Nicolas trained during two years at the San Francisco Circus Center with the famous Master Lu Yi. He then moved to Montreal to study and train at the prestigious National Circus School for three years with the former Cirque du Soleil performer Jerome le Baut, plus many other really high-level and famous coaches. He also had the opportunity to learn dancing and acting plus acquired a basic knowledge of music and signing. It was in Montreal that he met Charlotte O’Sullivan, born and raised in Toronto, who became his hand-to-hand flyer partner.

2014 Graduates - Ecole Nationale de Cirque de Montreal, Canada

While in San Francisco he went through mostly physical instruction, when he moved to Montreal his schedule was split between training and regular classes that were mandatory to get a Diploma of Collegial Studies (DCS) from the Ministry. He said: “It was important for me and my parents to get a diploma in case I might want to continue university studies in the future.”  I know his parents are really proud of him.

Master Lu YiLu Yi – The Master of Acrobatics – Master Lu Yi began his incredible career as an acrobat in China over 65 years ago and has since been an integral part of the circus world. He is one of the greatest performers of all time, renowned for his inventiveness. He performed, coached and directed the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe of China before coming to the US in 1990. He has served as the Vice President of China’s Acrobatic Association, judged international competitions including Cirque de Demain in Paris and Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo. Master Lu Yi has taught thousands of students all around the world, building a legacy of elite athletes and performers. 

Jerome Le Baut and Anna Vicente in Statue from the show Quidam, Cirque du SoleilJerome Le BautForce, flexibility and calm – Le Baut has been involved in competitive gymnastics, acrobatic sport, as well as the circus. He has performed for over ten years with Cirque du Soleil in various productions. Jerome is also a Physical Education teacher. Jerome le Baut and Anna Vicente in the sublime “Statue – Vice versa” from “Quidan”, show that the human body can defy itself and transcend its limitations. At one point he carries her entire body balanced on the palm of his hand. And she seems to grow out of him – they make light of weight. They form together, a sort of tree of man, assuming quite impossible positions. 

Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, a true source of inspiration

Nicolas confessed that growing up he had been really inspired by the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo where he went every year as a little kid. «I always had the desire to be on stage performing and using my body to communicate, but I did not know that one day I would become a circus performer. I made a serious decision when I graduated from High School at 17.» He is really grateful to his parents who have always been very supportive of his life choices.

International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo – Created in 1974 by HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco, the International Circus Festival has become the largest and most prestigious circus event in the world. It awards the most respected prize the « Golden Clown » award. Organized and presided by HSH Princes Stephanie of Monaco, a selection of the best international acts is presented each year at the Festival that is broadcasted around the globe.

The 39th edition will be from January 15-25, 2015 http://www.montecarlofestival.mc

 

Joining the cast of Pippin the Musical in the Big Apple

Nicolas together with his beautiful and talented hand-to-hand partner Charlotte O’Sullivan, have worked on several small projects in Montreal while attending school. They also performed as stunt doubles for the final big move of “Step Up: All In”, a 2014 American 3D Dance movie directed by Trish Sie that was released in the theaters this past summer.

Just after graduating from school mid-June 2014, they participated in a Circus Festival in Elbeuf, France called Cirque-Theatre Elbeuf that had Quebec Circuses as a theme. By the end of June they moved to the Big Apple to join the cast of Pippin the Musical on Broadway. Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical Reviva, Pippin is on the final weeks through January 4 with 2014 with the Josh Kaufman, winner of NBC’s “The Voice”, in the main role of Pippin.

Pippin The Broadway MusicalWhat Is the Story of Pippin? – Diane Paulus’ new, circus-inspired production of Pippin features an acrobatic troupe of performers, led by the charismatic Leading Player. The ensemble cast tells the story of Pippin, a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. To prove his loyalty to his distracted father, King Charles, Pippin goes to war. But when the Leading Player convinces the prince to fight tyranny, Pippin kills Charles and takes over the throne. Realizing his mistake, Pippin begs the Leading Player to bring his father back to life, and she obliges. The prince falls in love with Catherine, a widow with a young son, and (much to the Leading Player’s chagrin), Pippin struggles to decide whether he should settle down and pursue a peaceful life or continue to make magic with the dazzling troupe of performers. As the story unfolds, acrobats fly through the air, contort themselves into impressive positions and perform classic circus tricks. A two-and-a-half hour, high-energy extravaganza that makes for a positively electrifying night at the theater! It is a production for teens, but see the musical first before letting your little ones join the circus!

Broadway

When I asked Nicolas how hard was it to make it on Broadway and what skills are needed, his answer was to the point and clear:

«For a dancer, singer, actor I think it is really hard to make it on Broadway since there are so many amazing people out there and not that much demand. As a circus artist, our skills are so specific that we are only a few in the world capable of doing what we do at our level. Saying that, Pippin is the only Broadway show that includes circus performers. The Montreal based circus company «Les 7 doigts de la main» (7Fingers) is the company in charge of hiring the acrobats since Gypsy Snider, one of its co-founders, was in charge of the Circus Creation of the show. This company is in great terms with the National Circus School, so they hire most of their acrobats for their shows from our school. That’s how we got offered the job while we were still students since they had already seen our work at some of the school’s presentations and shows.”

That is the reason why Nicolas believes that New York may not be the most appropriate place for a circus artist, as there are not many job opportunities at present, besides Pippin the Musical and Queen of the Night, a circus/dinner show co-created by the 7Fingers. NY would be more the place to be for Musical Theater performers, actors, dancers and singers with all the Broadway, Off-Broadway and many shows and plays running in the city.

From becoming a circus performer to owning a circus one day

Nicolas’ life changed completely after becoming a circus performer, because now he feels really fulfilled, being on stage for him is such a wonderful feeling, sharing their art with the audience every night is a truly amazing and unique experience. Circus at its virtuoso best, seeks to persuade us that human beings might, by an effort of will, turn out be some other being entirely: growing wings, infinitely supple and almost mythical. Never losing contact, performers move almost imperceptibly through their act, assuming positions impossible without an impeccable sense of balance. Below are a few photos of Charlotte and Nicolas from their website showing exactly that.

I asked Nicolas what advice he would give to someone new to this career and where he sees himself in the next few years, to what he responded with passion in his voice: “I firmly believe that hard work beats talent. So never give up and keep working as hard as you can and your day will come!”  And he continued: “In the coming years I do hope I will still be performing and eventually create my own Circus Company!” To what I would add: May your dreams come true!

A final message from Nicolas

“Come see us perform in Pippin the Musical on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in New York before the show closes on January 4, 2015.”  For reservations: www.pippinthemusical.com

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One thought on “Circus performer Nicolas Jelmoni on a giant leap from Monaco to New York

  1. Reblogged this on Monaco Reporter and commented:

    Monaco born Nicolas Jelmoni, and partner Charlotte O’Sullivan, will be performing at the New Generation Festival of the Circus of Monte-Carlo this weekend. Both formed in the National Circus School in Montreal will present their hand-to-hand special number. Not to be missed! Learn more about these young acrobats in the article I published back in November 2014.

    Like

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