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Châtelaine – July 1997

A trapeze virtuoso

Marie-Josée Lévesque: only 25 years-old and
almost 10 years of circus life already!

by Pascale Millot

In Saint-Hilaire where she was born, Marie-Josée Lévesque was bored stiff. Between her divorced parents and much younger siblings, the little girl learned at a very young age how to occupy her thoughts and her time. "My greatest childhood joys came from gymnastics."

With many Quebec trampoline championships under her belt, she joined the Cirque du Soleil great big family in 1988. Then, just a year ago, she joined the ranks of Cirque Éloize, a company of 17 artists created at Îles-de-la-Madeleine in 1993.

She has created for them a highly original trapeze number, using a very peculiar tool. A cross between a traditional trapeze and a Washington trapeze (whose octogonal support bar allows acrobats to do figures while standing on their heads), Marie-Josée's own trapeze is built in such a way that the young virtuoso can balance herself on the head, but also stand on the bar, hang upside down, execute balancing acts or even wrap herself around the ropes. Fear? A foreign concept to her.

"I was brought up in an environment filled with risks. When I was working on the trampoline, I used to go very high up in the air and when I came down, I often hit the ground instead...yet still standing on my own two feet. I developed the reflexes of a cat."

Most impressive, though, is not the heights she reaches, nor even the graceful agility of her movements, but her amazingly sculpted...abs! Especially when they are being displayed under the spotlights. "On top of it all, I have a child," proudly says this young 25-year-old mother. "I find this very encouraging for women who haven't experienced pregnancy yet." As for myself, I would probably get more discouraged by this than anything else...

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