Canadian-born Erika Lemay has become a beautifully disruptive icon in the world of live performance, using her body in ways that defy both gravity and human possibilities. Her journey has taken her from her first ballet class at the age of four to worldwide success and accolades.
As the creator of Physical Poetry, Erika believes that ‘Poetry doesn’t have to be expressed with words’. Her TV performances have been seen by more than 400 million viewers worldwide, and her talent has been featured in international media, including Vanity Fair, Glamour Magazine, Hello Magazine, Le Figaro and La Repubblica. She has performed extensively as a soloist guest star with Cirque du Soleil whilst developing the unique artistic language for which she is famous today.
I first started ballet when I was 4. Then at 8 years old, I changed for artistic gymnastic which I’ve then practiced for more than 2 years. My gymnastic best friend started some little circus classes in her high school during the weekends. She could invite one friend so I just tried it as a new activity for one afternoon. I fell in love with this art, which could allow me to take advantage on my own physical qualities while gymnastic was stricter. My friend and I then have been noticed by a coach, which had a little circus troupe. He invited us to take part of it. I think I quit gymnastic right away.
Like I was saying, I’ve started with this little circus troupe, which turned into the first circus school of Quebec City. I was first specialized in aerial hoop but short after I’ve started tissu as well to take part of a new professional circus company who was creating its show. Since 12 years I have taken part of many different circus acts, especially during the time I was working with Cirque Eos. Since I am a freelancer artist, I’ve always tried to take as many workshops as possible with the best coaches around the world. I think it can help a lot to learn from the masters but the most important is to find your own style and to create your own art. Everybody is different so I think we shouldn’t try to copy each other but do what we are good at.
My first contract: I was 12, it was in a city 10 minutes away from Quebec city for the Quebec day. I was doing the hoop.
Everybody is different so I think we shouldn’t try to copy each other but do what we are good at.
Since I am a freelancer artist I have also been working with Cirque du Soleil as an independent artist. My experience was pretty short since it was for a Teleserie they produced; «Solstrom». Even if the project was really big and it is obviously a huge company, I have been treated very very well and felt very unique on this TV shooting.
The first time I’ve presented my brand new creation of «Dance on Hands» which is my hand balancing-contortion act. This moment was so special to me because it was the results of so many years of hard work and experiences. I had always dreamed about this act. I wanted to create something different to express my personal essence. So, on November 19th 2005, it’s been my first show with this creation. Obviously it was really not perfect but the audience reacted so well and gave me so much that at the end, when they all stood up, I had to hold my tears. I knew that I had accomplished something that I had always wanted to. I had already performed around the world and took part of huge events but this small corporate show will always stay on my mind.
For the end of this year 2006 I will be mostly working for corporate events in California Las Vegas, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto... I will also spend one month as a special guest performing my hoop act for Cirque du Soleil on a cruise ship. Then I might spend more time in Europe. I have many plans for my future, short term and long term ones. I still have many goals to reach as an artist but I am also thinking of putting up a business I will probably be more able to talk in one year or two.