PHOTOS: French circus festival adapts to coronavirus rules

It’s been a tough year for the performing arts in most countries, with virus lockdowns canceling shows and shuttering venues. But the world's top circus festival has found a way to flourish between the cracks in the rules — even without the huge crowds that would normally have attended. Ending Saturday in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, the fourth edition of the Circus Biennale (BIAC), held every two years in the south of France, celebrates the injury-defying and spine-stretching arts that fuel the storied spectacle. More than 110,000 people attended the last BIAC, in 2019. This year it had up to 2,000 visitors, all professionals who work in the circus or are looking to buy shows. Even that is a testament to the grit and determination of the organizers, who skillfully adapted their festival to the French authorities’ rules and regulations.

UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2021 06:10 PM IST 9 Photos
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Performer Alice Rende from Brazil does her preparations before performing "Passages", a contortionism creation in a space delimited by a Plexiglas box during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Performer Alice Rende from Brazil does her preparations before performing "Passages", a contortionism creation in a space delimited by a Plexiglas box during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2021 06:10 PM IST
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Performer Alice Rende from Brazil stretches prior to performing "Passages", a contortionism creation in a space delimited by a Plexiglas box during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Performer Alice Rende from Brazil stretches prior to performing "Passages", a contortionism creation in a space delimited by a Plexiglas box during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2021 06:10 PM IST
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French tightrope walker Tatiana-Mosio Bongoga, presents her documentary on her performance on a 400-meter tightrope walk that was suspended at a height of 40 meters without any protection across the Vltava river in Prague in 2019, during the BIAC, International Circus Art Biennale in Marseille, south of France, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.(AP)

French tightrope walker Tatiana-Mosio Bongoga, presents her documentary on her performance on a 400-meter tightrope walk that was suspended at a height of 40 meters without any protection across the Vltava river in Prague in 2019, during the BIAC, International Circus Art Biennale in Marseille, south of France, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.(AP)

UPDATED ON FEB 13, 2021 06:10 PM IST
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Acrobats Gioia Zanaboni, from Italy, top, and Anja Eberhart from Switzerland of the Zania company practice outside in a public park as their training center room is closed prior to presenting their acrobat show "Never Retiring" during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

Acrobats Gioia Zanaboni, from Italy, top, and Anja Eberhart from Switzerland of the Zania company practice outside in a public park as their training center room is closed prior to presenting their acrobat show "Never Retiring" during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.(AP)

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Performers Pauline Barboux and Jeanne Ragu of the Libertivore company present their show "Ether" directed by Fanny Soriano during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP)

Performers Pauline Barboux and Jeanne Ragu of the Libertivore company present their show "Ether" directed by Fanny Soriano during the BIAC, International Circus Arts Biennale, in Marseille, south of France, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP)

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