Circus Without Borders

Circus Without Borders is a tale of two circuses–one from above the Arctic Circle, the other from West Africa–which came together against all odds, with a common dream: to embrace their traditions and lead their struggling communities forward.

Acrobats Guillaume Saladin and Yamoussa Bangoura meet in Montreal’s acclaimed Cirque Eloize, and return to their homes to transform their struggling communities with the power of performance. Independently they both found circus schools: Guilaume a group called Artcirq and Yamoussa a group called Kalabante.

Both Igloolik and Conakry are reeling from a legacy of colonialism which has decimated their cultures and resulted in desperate social problems: wretched poverty and massive unemployment in Guinea; drugs, apathy, and suicide in the Arctic. The Inuit testify about mistreatment by the government before Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Guineans struggle through their first free elections after 23 years of brutal dictatorial rule.

Visiting one another in their respective countries, the performers see that despite their differences, they are mirror images of one another. They begin to see themselves as empowered participants determined to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities rather than as victims.