Olivier and Melinda

From Circopedia

Acrobatic Adagio

By Dominique Jando


Olivier & Melinda (1991)
Born in Valenciennes, France, Olivier Merlier was not, it seemed, destined to become a circus performer. He worked as a welder on nuclear power plant construction(French) A temporary circus building, originally made of wood and canvas, and later, of steel elements supporting a canvas top and wooden wall. Also known as a "semi-construction." sites, and, in his spare time, practiced kickboxing and karate.

Then, while visiting his sister at the State Circus School in Budapest, Hungary, he was asked by the school to organize a workshop in kickboxing for the students. The instructors at the school were impressed enough by his strength and flexibility to propose that Olivier enroll. It seemed to him that the circus was more fun than welding, so he accepted the invitation. Thus, in 1985, he began training in all the classic circus disciplines. At the same time, he began to study Hungarian—and to pay increasing amounts of attention to a certain fellow student, Melinda Fölnagy.

Before long, Olivier and Melinda began working together on an acrobatic adagioAcrobatic act, generally involving a man and a woman, presented in a slow or romantic mood.. In April 1988—two months before their graduation—Olivier and Melinda were married in Budapest. A few months later, they made their professional debut at the old Hansa Theater in Hamburg, Germany.

In January 1988, Olivier & Melinda presented their brand-new act at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. Although they didn't win a medal, they caught the attention of the Big Apple Circus's talent scouts, who invited them to join the circus's resident company in the United States. A year later, they made their debut as part of the Big Apple Circus's summer tour.

Olivier & Melinda stayed at the Big Apple Circus until 1992, participating in company ensembles. They performed their acrobatic adagioAcrobatic act, generally involving a man and a woman, presented in a slow or romantic mood. as well as a teeterboardA seesaw made of wood, or fiberglass poles tied together, which is used to propel acrobats in the air. duet. They separated at the end of the 1992 summer tour. Olivier returned to France, where he became a flying-trapeze catcherIn an acrobatic or a flying act, the person whose role is to catch acrobats that have been propelled in the air. in the groundbreaking and successful aerial show, Les Arts-Sauts. Melinda, a versatile acrobat, remained in the Big Apple Circus's resident company until 1998, appearing in an astonishing variety of acrobatic acts, before moving on to explore other opportunities.

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