Its 28-meter-high wooden frame tent covered with an emerald and royal blue plastic canvas folded origami style stands in the Tertres-Cuverons district in Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine), like a signal of creative emulsion amidst the gray straightness of the concrete of the surrounding buildings.
Passed an open door, here is the “practice room for amateurs” of the World’s Smallest Circus (PPCM) where a class starts that afternoon. Sébastien observes the sequence of toddlers that begins: going through the hoops, climbing the mast, balancing on a crossing of giant balloons. “When you have young children, there are few practices as complete as the circus because it develops both motor skills and artistic taste”, observes the father of the family.
For this forty-year-old, the PPCM is not just a circus school or a simple sports club. “There is a real project for a cultural place where we come to see shows, there are initiations and that is for us, parents, too. »
The PPCM goes well beyond that: at the same time school of circus arts, residence of artists, factory of shows, place of conviviality and actor of the valorization of the heritages of the urban peripheries, it has just received the label of State “Cultural meeting center” which aims to give new artistic and cultural life to major heritage sites. It is the 21st French site to receive this distinction and the first representing the heritage of the suburbs.
“This label dates from 1972. Until now, it was reserved mainly for cultural facilities which were former religious centers, monasteries, abbeys, and dating back several centuries, explains Daniel Forget, founding president of the PPCM association. . For us, it is a recognition of the hard work of the team, the volunteers and the management of Eleftérios Kechagioglou. It’s extraordinary because it shows that the suburbs, artistically, can also be a melting pot of invention and creativity. »
It all started in an old gymnasium
The PPCM thus joins theRoyaumont Abbey, the only other cultural meeting center in Île-de-France that carries out a cultural and heritage project around music and dance. In Bagneux, the circus arts have driven the PPCM project since its inception.
It all started in 1992, when a few townspeople had the idea of investing in an old gymnasium located below the large HLM bars to teach the art of the circus free of charge to young people in the popular district of Tertres-Cuverons. The old gymnasium still exists but now fits discreetly into the marquee inaugurated in 2015 by architects Patrick Bouchain and Loïc Julienne from the Construire workshop as part of an open and participatory construction site.
“There were about ten families who wanted to develop circus arts. At that time, circus schools were barely developing, it was passed on from generation to generation,” recall Catherine Potvin and Valérie Cediel, respectively vice-president and volunteer secretary of the association. “Our children were the first students. We immediately became a social circus, without animals, integrated into our neighborhood, ”they continue, seated in the middle of the fireplace with beams engraved by schoolchildren.
Some 17,000 people have benefited from the PPCM
This living space, managed as an associative café, brings together the inhabitants of the district, especially during “Fridays barracks”, themed festive moments, which are joined by other associations in the city and which give carte blanche to the artists in residence.
Thirty years later, the amateur courses have around 600 subscribers (800 before le Covid). Last year, the multiple activities of the PPCM benefited nearly 17,000 people: 44 performance dates were offered; 16 companies in residence were welcomed, eight in distribution including foreign ones; about thirty young people have been trained to prepare for their entry into schools and 850 hours of artistic and urban mediation have been facilitated.
Like this project of the high school before high school “, in which young and old are invited to imagine their school of tomorrow in the Mathurins district, or even this “great journey of proximity” to discover local architecture.
“Gradually, we grew, created jobs with many people in the neighborhood”, proudly continues Valérie Cediel. With this label, the PPCM is entering a new stage of its growth and should be enriched with new cultural and artistic proposals and research.
#Bagneux #Smallest #Circus #World #enters #big #leagues