Caroline Baillon (or Caro, as we affectionately refer to her) was born in Angers, France, and lept straight into circus. While she modestly describes herself as having ‘really curly brown hair’, Caro speaks French, Spanish and English, and has been performing circus for over a decade. She jokes there is a French saying that ‘when you don’t eat your soup – you won’t grow’ – she is living proof of that, being only 1.5m in height which makes her a perfect circus flyer.
Caro joined the Circa Ensemble in April this year and hit the ground running – although she is our newest Ensemble member, Caroline is a consummate performer who has already performed a world premiere, toured five productions, and performed to over 20,000 people during her time at Circa. We finally had a chance to sit down with Caro during creation for a new Circa work, and ahead of Humans opening at QPAC this December.
Caro, how did you manage to end up on this journey with Circa, and where did it all begin?
I grew up in a small town in France close to Bordeaux. At five years old, I realised circus was the job for me – it was the only thing I could think of doing. There were artists in my family, but not in movement or circus. I took dance classes at this time, but when I was seven, a circus school actually opened in my town. I was there as soon as it opened, and I’ve never stopped
I finished high school in France, and went to audition and then on to study in Quebec City in the professional circus program at l’Ecole de Cirque de Québec. After four years there, I achieved by diploma of Circus Arts.
When you were in school, did you have a specialty or particular discipline you learnt?
When I was studying at I specialised in hand to hand at l’Ecole de Cirque de Québec, and everything that goes around it – that includes acrobatics, trampoline, handstands and so on. I specialised in duo work also, but at this time I wanted something for myself to work on as a solo. So, I took up the multicorde – it’s actually a relatively new apparatus, so there aren’t many people that do it so it seemed like an exciting choice to explore.
You’ve travelled all the way from France (via Canada) to join us in the Studio in Brisbane. Have you performed elsewhere before joining the Circa Ensemble?
After graduating, I performed with Cirque Éloize with the show iD, where I performed my hand to hand as a flyer, and doing a bit of trampo-wall. I also performed banquine, and some aerials (mostly with multicorde). I was also in a duo act, Connor & Caroline, and when I was done with touring I coached circus for a while in Quebec City. I love teaching circus, but when the opportunity to perform with Circa popped up, I had to take it!
You’ve been with Circa since April and already performed a whole bunch of shows with us – what have you done so far, and have you got a highlight?
Yes! I’ve had so many highlights already with Circa. I performed Humans at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which was my first time here. I also performed in the premiere of Spanish Baroque with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. I’ve actually performed five different shows since I’ve started with Circa – currently we are in creation for a new work, and I need to learn another two which we will be touring next year! My highlight so far would be the Edinburgh season – the Fringe is amazing, with so many different exciting shows to see, lots of reuniting with friends, and the city in amazing!
What do you love most about being a circus performer?
Everything. I just can’t imagine doing anything else. There are so many dimensions to it – it’s not just a job, it’s part of travel, which is amazing, see so many different places and people .
Any superstitions or pre-show rituals you deeply believe in?
Never touch wood. (whispering) Ever.
And finally, do you have any advice for performers and dreamers? What is one of the most important things you swear by?
Commit. When you’re on stage, you never make a wrong choice – whatever you do, you have to make it your choice. When you’re on stage, trust what you chose to do. Commit because you can’t stop and look at the audience to say “oh forget about that!” – you’ve done what you’ve done, and you gotta commit!
Caro will be touring all over the world with Circa – catch her next performance on stage with Humans at QPAC from 6 – 9 December, 2017. You can also stay up to date with our antics on social media on Facebook and Instagram.