Photo: Einar Kling-Odencrants Photo: Einar Kling-Odencrants

Sophie Hulthén’s Circus Grant 2014 has been awarded to Mira Leonard and Esmeralda Nikolajeff

In memory of the world citizen and circus enthusiast Sophie Hulthén, a grant has been instituted that will be awarded to a graduate student at the circus education at DOCH.

Mira Leonard 2Esmeralda Nikolajeff 2

The Motivation of the Jury:

Risk taking is the core of circus. You train physics to deal with bodily risks, you train mentally for the same reason. With the artistic challenge that appears in the meeting with the audience you face yet another risk: the risk to flop, to fail in the eyes of the beholder.

These two artists take risks and manage to catch the moment over and over again. They play with their individuality as a duo showing high technical brilliance with very innovative and interesting aesthetics in a demanding, yet traditional discipline that is stretched to the limit – still with a humble approach never losing the attention of the audience.  The use of props is effective and they have by innovative technical equipment broken the monotony of a fixed trapeze. With strong presence in a beautiful act, with personal approach and expression, they make us aware of the fragility of the simple as well as of the possibility to overcome all kinds of limitations. They place the act in a conceptual discussion, in relation to normativity, gender and aesthetic, which makes the work most relevant. They challenge gravity with a smile and express with seriousness the complexity in a relationship. They have something urgent to tell… Through persistent research and poetic presence, they will move the circus art forward toward new forms of expressions.

The Sophie Hulthén Circus Grant

It is the single most valuable grant to a circus student in Europe and it will be awarded to a student showing exceptional talent in combination with successful studies and artistic maturity. The grant can also be awarded to a group of students working together. The purpose of the grant is to further the development of circus art through the promotion of new young artists. The sum of the grant is SEK 100 000.

Sophie Hulthén 1967-2008

Sophie Hulthén was the chief legal advisor at Euroclear in London. She grew up in Stocksund and Los Angeles, studied in Lund, Oslo, Harvard and Brugges. She worked at the department for fair trade at the European Commission in Brussels and later as a legal counsel in various connections.

Besides her official career, Sophie Hulthén was a creative person. She expressed herself through what she could make at her sewing-machine, by flamenco dancing, snowboarding and ceramics, but one of her strongest dreams and ambitions was to apply herself to the art of circus. In 2007 she took a sabbatical to complete a year of circus training in Bristol where her disciplines were the trapeze and juggling. That year of training was interrupted by a cancer disease. Sophie passed away at the age of 41.

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From the programme of the circus show  ”Closing Acts”

When I was asked at the age of two what I wanted to become when I grew up I answered "an aerial acrobat"! It surprised people that a small person like me even knew that word. Climbing onto the highest furniture and throwing myself to whoever was there to catch me, I fast became a flyer and since the age of five I've been playing around in the circus environment.
Esmeralda Nikolajeff

I stumbled into the circus world as a child and ran straight into the young and tiny Esmeralda Nikolajeff. The first time we tried the trapeze together my legs cramped and I let go. Now I don't remember how it became our main discipline, I guess the next attempt went better because since then, we've been sharing beds, caravans and tents when we've been traveling and performing together both on big stages, boats, in trees and living rooms.
Mira Leonard

The Jury 2014

Efva Lilja, Artist, Professor of Choreography and Chairperson.
Alexander Weibel Weibel, Circus Artist
Faon Shane, Circus Artist
Lars Rudolfsson, Theatre Director

Jury 2012

Choreographer, Professor and Vice-Chancellor Efva Lilja
Circus Director of the Académie Fratellini Valerie Fratellini
Circus Artist Thorsten Andreassen
Theatre Director Lars Rudolfsson

Jury 2010

Choreographer, Professor and Vice-Chancellor Eva Lilja
Circus Director of the Académie Fratellini Valerie Fratellini
Circus Artist Siri Hamari
Theatre Director Lars Rudolfsson