The International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo
Created in 1974 by H.S.H. Prince Rainier III of Monaco, the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo has become the largest and most prestigious circus event in the world. Organized and presided over by H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, a selection of the best international acts is presented each year at the Festival, which is broadcast around the globe.
Among more than 200 artists coming from 22 countries, Erika Lemay was the only soloist invited to present two different acts in the program. She was alsoawarded a special prize, presentedby Patrick Hourdequin, who for 30 years has been the President of Theatre Princess Grace of Monte-Carlo and of the Association Monegasque des Amis du Cirque.
Erika Lemay won her first international circus competition when she was only 14 years old at "La Piste aux Espoirs" in Tournai, Belgium. Since then, her acts have won awards in the world's best festivals many times, from the Festival de Cirque de Demain in Paris to the 1st Planetary Festival of Circus Direction in St-Petersburg, on top of famous circus competitions—named festivals in circus arts language—of Roma and Massy.
Erika's reputation worldwide had long been strongly built when she received an invitation at The International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, known as Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo. This unique festival is famous for bringing numerous circus troupes who risk their lives beforethe eyes of the audience with the greatestacrobatic abilitieson earth. Erika was very honoured to be invited to perform two of her solo acts in a festival where soloists are just a small portion of the program. She accepted the invitation to present her famous "Dance on Hands" as well as the multi-awarded "Tornado" for the 36th edition, knowing this platform might not be the one to really highlight her style and art, but nonetheless stillhappy to join the real circus once more in her life, now that she dedicates her career to international high-end events, theatre and TV shows.
Although many critics claim that Erika Lemay was unjustly awarded at the Festival and shamefully ignored by the jury, what is truly important for Erika is the reaction and appreciation of the public whose eye is the mirror of an entire life of sacrifices and love for her passion for entertainment, Circus Arts and ultimately her art "Physical Poetry". The 36th Festival Mondial du Cirque de Monte-Carlo was another unique opportunity to live magical moments onstage, and share an experience with artists Erika usually does not otherwise encounter on the international scene. This includes animal trainers and more traditional circus performers whose presence is always strong in this Festival. All in all, this major event is worthy of its reputation and the love of the public for Circus Arts.
Bien que plusieurs critiques du monde circassien aient déclaré que Erika Lemay fut injustement récompensée lors de ce festival et honteusement ignorée du jury, l'important pour Erika fut la réaction et l'appréciation du public dont l'oeil est le miroir d'une vie de sacrifice pour sa passion du spectacle, des Arts du Cirque et ultimement de son art "Physical Poetry". Le 36ème Festival Mondial du Cirque de Monte-Carlo a été une autre occasion unique de scène et de moments magiques partagés avec des artistes que Érika ne côtoie en général pas sur les scènes internationales; notamment les dresseurs d'animaux et les artistes de cirque plus traditionnel dont la présence est toujours forte au sein de ce festival. Somme toute, cet événement d'envergure est digne de sa réputation et une grande preuve d'amour du public pour les Arts du Cirque.
H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco
Having served on her first jury when she was just nine years old at the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo created by Prince Rainier III, it was natural that H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco would one day devote her time to preserving the circus tradition for future generations.
Today H.S.H. Princess Stephanie is the President of the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo, overseeing the entire operation from the selection of acts to the choreography, costuming, music and lighting that bring together the competition and gala shows so beautifully. She is actively involved in planning the circus-themed events that occur during the Festival and does not miss a rehearsal. Often joined by H.S.H. Prince Albert and her children, H.S.H. Princess Stephanie enjoys each and every performance, which is the culmination of the previous year’s work.
Following in her father’s footsteps, the Princess ensures that each Festival features classical circus acts that represent the best of the best in captivating clownery, the presentation of awe-inspiring animals, and gravity-defying acrobatics. Each year, these crowd-pleasing traditional acts are combined with innovative new creations that take the circus art-form to new and unexpected heights.
Continuing her active role for the benefit of circus arts and culture, H.S.H. Princess Stephanie has supported the formation of the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque under her patronage and serves as its Honorary President.