Once, when performing the cannon shot at a festival in Connecticut, Dimitri fell and hit his head. Ever the professional, he continued his tightrope routine, unaware that the festival producer had called both the fire and police departments. He smiles as he recalls trying to “calmly finish” the show with police sirens blaring and firefighters with stretchers waiting below.
the show entirely on his own, financial pressures forced this father of two to do just that. “I couldn’t afford a technician. I had to do everything on my own. Now that’s become my signature.” He chuckles as he remembers the countless times he’s seen confusion on people’s faces when he drives a truck to a performance site and begins setting up. “People assume I’m the technician and think ‘where is the guy who does the show?’”
But despite the flamboyant acrobatics, Dimitri maintains that L’homme Cirque “is not at all about flash and crash. It’s about a guy who travels the world with his own little circus and wants to bring his art to the people. My story is about showing people that anything is possible. I want each person who watches me to think about their own dreams, then go home afterward and start fulfilling those dreams.”
So what, exactly, can one expect from a L’homme Cirque show? Dimitri’s signature tightrope acrobatics, including flips and somersaults. Moments of clowntype whimsy, as when—while lying on the tightrope on his back—he plays the accordion or the trumpet. And then there’s the moment when he shoots himself out of a cannon he designed and built himself.
Sometimes, he says, when he walks through the crowd after a show, many people have tears in their eyes. He considers this the ultimate compliment and a tribute to what his father—who passed away two years ago— taught him: “Do honest work. Be yourself. Your body language will communicate what words can’t.”
“I don’t do it to be a daredevil,” says Dimitri. “I think the cannon is funny. But for some kids, they’ve started to like me and now they’re afraid for me.” After he successfully skyrockets across the tent, Dimitri says these same children are elated. “I think it shows them that you have to believe in yourself and your abilities.”
There is, of course, an element of risk associated with each performance.
The show climaxes with a theatrical flourish: Dimitri opens a flap at the top of the tent and beckons the audience to join him outside, where he walks across a high-wire cable and disappears into a tower 50 feet in the sky.
C I RQU E
THE ONE-MAN CIRCUS Eva-Marie Repolusk
Thu, June 27–Sun, July 7
Opening night VIP reception! STRATHMORE.ORG/CIRQUE
STRATHMORENEWS | Summer 2019 | www.strathmore.org