Monday, January 16, 2012

Best Contortion Act Ever: Janik & Arnaut

[post 231]

The typical contortion act — you know, with the platform and the mouthpiece and the 13-year-old girl doing a Marinelli bend — puts me to sleep. And then there's the snake dance of French performers Janik & Arnaut — Janine Janik (1931 - 1985) & Christian Arnaut (1912 - 2003). This isn't exactly physical comedy since they're not going for the laughs, but the partnering work is amazing: not just the unique positions, but the sinuous flow of the snake around the charmer's body. In most partner acrobatics, the base is muscling a lot of the moves; here, much of it is accomplished with little or no use of Arnaut's hands, much less his biceps; he guides more than he lifts.

Maybe it's all those magicians writing for my blogopedia, but I couldn't help think there could be a sharper ending, an illusion with Janik morphing back into the fake snake....

Thanks to Ophra Wolf for the link!


Jonathan Lyons said...

That was great. Far better than any I've seen in Cirque du Soleil. The Cirque's contortion acts were routinely a low point for me.

Catherine Todd said...

What an incredible act! I've never seen anything come close to the "Snake Dance."

"Janine Janik (1931 - 1985) & Christian Arnaut (1912 - 2003)"

Do you know the cause of death for either or both of these performers? It seems that Janine died early on, relative to today's life expectancies. Arnaut lived for much longer it seems.

Thanks for such a wonderful blog. I would never have known about any of these performers or "physical comedy" until I found my way here, via a Facebook post! Gracias, mi amigo!

Catherine Todd said...

Checking "email followup" (forgot before) Thanks!

Catherine Todd said...

PS: do you know the meaning or source of this child's song posted on your blog:

"Ring around a rosie, a pocket full of posies, Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down!"

I remember singing and doing this as a child, and how we all loved it! Do you know anything more?

Anonymous said...

It has to do with one of the pandemics. Polio, or maybe plague?

Circle around a rosary for prayer, stuff this herb in your pocket to keep safe, ashes to ashes, everybody dies.

Catherine Todd said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I would never have guessed!