Reintroducing BassAlto!

BassAlto are a new, all-female company of professional wirewalkers. Their debut performance, also called BassAlto, will premiere in Galway on 15 July and be performed again during the LifeLine Spectacle on 16 July, 2022. In this blog, we reintroduce them ahead of their first residency in Brussels 11-15 April.

BassAlto was created as part of ‘Wires Crossed - Head, Heart, Balance’, a Creative Europe funded co-operation project between Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles, Galway Community Circus, The Serious Road Trip Romania, Université libre de Bruxelles and the European Funambulism Network that supports artistic and participatory excellence in funambulism.

Funambulism is the art of tightwire walking while using a balancing pole. It is an activity that inspires confidence, wellness, practices safe risk, and gives amateur participants the opportunity to walk in the air.

BassAlto is an outdoor spectacle where the discipline of funambulism is the main axis for developing a visual and poetic circus show.

The BassAlto spectacle features five women funambulists, tightrope walkers and acrobats from the best European circus schools and ten passionate local participants on an extraordinary infrastructure – a web of wires suspended at different heights with 360° audience visibility – discovering the magic of walking the sky.

Artistic vision for Bassalto
from Director Sergi Ots and Choreographer Mariona Moya

This end-to-end journey of Europe and the collaboration between Romania, Ireland and Belgium reminds us to think about the great migration trips that occur on our planet. The large migrations of birds, streams of plankton that move through the sea currents, the tragic and transient movement of human beings who are forced because of armed conflict to migrate. Together with the visual beauty of nature, we explore movement between worlds, its normality and challenge, the journey - natural or forced.

The name BassAlto comes from two concepts: The Giant’s Causeway located in Northern Ireland, a geological area made up of basalt stone. This landscape is linked to legend that says the basalt columns of the area are what remains of a huge bridge used by giants, that once linked Ireland with Scotland. The legend says that one day the giants became angry and destroyed the connection between the islands, leaving the stone columns as the only vestige of the bridge. The motivation for this project is to metaphorically reconstruct this bridge and start a journey that unites our countries.

BassAlto is also a conjunction of BASSO (bass in Italian) and ALTO (high). The configuration and technical design of the show will provide two different heights where funambulists will perform. The lowest cable and the higher cable will represent a transfer between two worlds, an ephemeral bridge, that can unite two territories, just like the giant’s basalt bridge.

The presence of human bodies on stage, our funambulists, will visually allow for contrast with the rigidity of the lines of the cables. These tightwire artists will be the incandescent lava that can be molded and crystallized into new basalt columns.

Meet the BassAlto Artists

The BassAlto company is comprised of five women who have been passionate about circus arts and balance from a young age. They have travelled across Europe and spent time at major training centres mastering their skills.

Carlotta Risitano (IT)
A gymnast, acrobat, and clown, Carlotta, age 29, graduated from the prestigious dance and circus university, DOCH in Sweden. She travels across Europe performing her own work and with the Cirkus Cirkör company.

Suzon Gheur (BE)
Suzon, age 33, spends more time in the air than on land. Her passion for the circus arts was born very early in Brussels and continued in Ireland, the United States and Spain. She trained in aerial dance, cyr wheel, trapeze and tightrope walking, and performs with various companies including her own, Cie Breaked.

Grace Neville-Evans (UK)
Grace, age 24, discovered wirewalking at the age of 14 and fell in love with it. She studied at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London and has travelled the world and danced to her strings.

Klara Philipp (SE)
Klara, age 28, discovered circus at the age of seven and has performed with the youth ensemble at Cirkus Cirkör. Specializing in wire, she studied circus at AFUK in Copenhagen and DOCH in Stockholm. She is one of the founders and artistic directors of Below Zero Company.

Louise Mercadier (FR)
An eclectic performer, Louise, age 32, devoted herself to the circus and the wire after having practiced art, gymnastics, theatre, dance and martial arts in her childhood. She created the Compagnie des Corps Caverneux, with which she now performs her own works on wire.

Meet the BassAlto Artistic Team

BassAlto is led by award-winning Director Sergi Ots (ES) with choreography by Mariona Moya (ES), music by Gil Mortio (BE), artistic direction by Vincent Wauters (BE), and technical design by Bruno Frenette (FR).

Sergi Ots - Director

Founder and Director of Spanish company Ponten Pie Productions who have toured to 19 European countries and throughout Asia. Director of the Opening Ceremony of the International Figure Skating World Championship 2015, Opening Ceremony CSIO Jumping nations Final Cup 2016 and the Opening Ceremony MCCC 2018.

La Corcoles - Mariona Moya - Choreographer

Tightrope and highwire walker, aerial dancer and creator and performer (under the name of Cia.La Corcoles). Mariona is essentially self-taught and has trained and collaborated with circus companies such as Cie.Le Coupole-Olivier Roustan, Cie.Les Colporteurs, Denis Josselin, The Bullzini Family, and Ernesto Terri. She created her own company with which she released two solo pieces that toured Europe, and has been a member of companies Cie Cirque Rouages, Cie Les Chaussons Rouges, Cia.Nostraxladamus, Cia.Pontenpié, Cia.Voël, Cia Estampades and Cia Deambulants. She has collaborated on many national and international projects including the Opera del Liceu in Barcelona.

Bruno Frenette – Technical manager

Head Technician at Centre Européen de Funambulism from 2011 to 2019, and Logistic Manager at the Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles from 2011 to 2016. Bruno is a Circus Arts pedagogue specializing in funambulism, trained in the Formation Pédagogique of the Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles. He was a teacher, director and trainer for Traits of Union from 2004 to 2012.

Gil Mortio – Musical Director

A musician, composer and producer from Brussels, Gil is co-founder of the Third Shoulder, a music label and artistic support service for festivals such as Francofête, Trille, Entr’arts, Manitoba Music and African Night. He has also been an associate artist at the Brussels Francofaune festival since 2015, and is a founding member of the Federation of Combined Composers (FACIR).

Vincent Wauters – Artistic Director

A director, juggler, actor and trainer of mini-pigs, Vincent’s artistic skills are varied. He toured Europe from 1980 to 1986 with the first Belgian contemporary circus company, Cirque du Trottoirm, which landed him in the first Cirque du Soleil tour in 1984. Alongside his artistic career, he created and directed the Circus School of Brussels from 1981 to 2021. In 2001, he created the European Funambulism Network in Brussels, which he directs.

BassAlto Artistic Residencies 2022-2023

Residency 1
10-15 April 2022 – Tour & Taxis
Brussels, Belgium 10-15 April 2022

Residency 2
12-18 June 2022 – Domeniile Murani
Timisoara, Romania

Residency 3 + Premiere
6-17 July 2022
Galway, Ireland

Residency 4 + Show
Capital of Culture 2023
Timisoara, Romania

Residency 5 + Show
Brussels, Belgium