Johanne Humblet, Belgian funambolist talks of the wire going into the unknown

A funambolist who walks on a High-Wire in order to reach new inspirations in the realm of the unknown.

Johanne Humblet, Belgian funambolist talks of the wire going into the unknown

The artistic projects of the company Les Filles du Renard Pâle are carried on by Johanne Humblet who created it and realizes different forms of Funambolist Performances. Her artistic approach is to always move forward surpassing the limits of oneself, going towards the boundaries and repelling them, all in a tenacious will of sharing, meeting and exchange.

In balance, Johanne traces her passage on the straight line. She made her debut at the Circus School of Brussels, learnt Circus Arts at the Espace Catastrophe, then, in 2003, left her homeland, Belgium, for Paris where she underwent for 4 years the professional training of the Fratellini Academy.

Here comes the interview that Johanne Humblet gave for First Arte.

How did you like to express your Funambolist Art at Chassepierre Festival in Belgium, how did you feel your footing in that rainy night?

“Our show “RÉSISTE” is a creation of this year 2019 and we had never performed in the rain before. It was a little crazy to do so, because there is a lot of electricity in the show, between all the musician’s sound material and the unstable wire structure.
The surprise was that the spectators were a lot despite the rain, and our desire is exactly to share these intense moments with the audience: we surpassed our limits and took those risks in order to respect the people who attended the show.”

Can you tell us something about your colleagues and your company in general?

“I created the company Les Filles du Renard Pâle with Virginie Fremaux, who is the graphic designer of the company, instead Violette Legrand is the singer who performed on RÉSISTE.
The choreography on the wire is a research work that I did during the creation of this show, trying to find a new way to approach the tight-rope: for my research I underwent a lot of trial and error, doing a lot of work with my body, with pleasure!

Music is also extremely important in all the projects the company does. In RÉSISTE, the music was created by Deadwood (Violette Legrand and Jérémy Manche). We share a great complicity that can be seen on stage although Violette is very different from me, we have opposite approaches, that’s what makes us so rich. In the show, she brings balance: I’m willing to always jump into a new adventure while her character is more chill and brings a necessary touch of humour to the show. We just complete one another.”

What were the most important steps for your career, the shows that made you into the funambolist that you’re today?

“I am at the base a Tight-Rope Walker. It’s been 7-8 years instead that I am a High-Wire Walker, the main differences between the two are the height and the differente balance.
I worked with many other companies before I started my own company Les Filles du Renard Pâle three years ago, it’s a young one in fast development!
These days I am in full artistic blooming, I do not hold back from anything: I realized a performance of 24 hours on the wire in the streets of Chalon, accompanied by Johann Candoré‘s music as a melodic link with the ground, we have just realized a performance of 6 hours inside a pool for the Festival of Cergy Soit and I will also do a High-Wire walk this year in Moscow.
I am basically a committed High-Wire Walker who loves moving forward into unknown grounds, who likes to be surprised to be able to surprise. What matters to me is the meetings we do, they allow us to move forward, risk, and learn.”

What is funambolism for you? Can you tell me what you want to communicate through it?

“The high wire fascinates, inspires, impresses, leaves traces of its passage. When we make a great crossing, it is often very publicized and it attracts the crowds, I am aware of the responsibility I hold for the impact I can have on the audience.
My work and my research go in this direction, to take the audience with me to a place that is unknown, to surprise it, to impress it…
I leave messages behind every step I make in my career showing that we can realize our dreams. We must not stop at first and just run the risk, to go further and further. On the wire as in life…”

What’s the feeling that you usually have when rotating in the air on a thin rope Johanne?

“When you are high up on a rope you have to do the right movements in that moment, to be totally what you’re doing, feeling, living the wire. I do not let anxiety or other thoughts invade my mind up there, I control them. On my wire I feel free, unreachable, my senses are awake.”

What about future projects? Have you ever performed in Italy?

“I have not performed in Italy yet but we are starting to receive proposals! We have a lot of projects: the show RÉSISTE in its outdoor version (that is going to be presented indoor from January 2020), then there is the High-Wire walking performance RESPIRE and it’s also important to mention the show FUNAMBULE IN-SITU, these are all atypical forms of High-Wire performances that me and my company created together.

I like the idea that the wire can cross any place. I like to envelop in our musical and surreal world of High-Wires any place available to take people elsewhere. The wire gathers, impresses, it is the link that connects one point to another, beyond the borders, beyond any barrier. A link as symbolic as concrete, the spectators go out to the street to roll their eyes up above: they are all there to live together that moment, where dialogues, encounters and sharing about the unknown way of the wire begins.”

Written and Translated by Gerardo Iannacci.

Live show of Résiste