Cologne artist siblings: harmony on the rope in the Cirque Bouffon

The harmony of the two artists is impressive. Like an amoeba in the flowing movements, an eight-limbed body winds itself around the vertical rope, merges and separates again, seems inextricably knotted, only to appear to fall into the abyss the next moment, paints pictures with bodies under the circus dome.

Una Bennett (25) and her brother Ezra Weill, who is three years older, know their trade and understand each other. And they are versatile: he can still be seen in the Cirque Bouffon program juggling hats and boxes, she impresses with a hula-hoop number. And both also play along with the music: Una blows the sousaphone, Ezra plucks the banjo.

On stage together for the first time in ten years: Una Bennett and Ezra Weill.

“Our parents are visual artists,” says Una Bennett, who is married to a Frenchman, “and are very present in the art scene in Seattle, where we grew up. There was a small circus school that we had been going to since I was six and Ezra was nine.” Both of them also went to a Waldorf school, where their parents also taught. “So we grew up with music too.”

Learned to juggle from my father

Ezra says his father taught him to juggle. “We then performed on the streets and at small festivals in Seattle. We played the violin and Una hula-hooped on a ball. I stacked skateboards and juggled knives while standing on them.” They also did partner acrobatics, he must have been 13 then, he remembers. “It was a lot of fun,” says Una, “and we were happy to take the money we had with us. We learned a lot of basics there. Especially how to get people’s attention. If they don’t like something, they just move on.” The child bonus certainly helped back then.

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What is possible with hula hoops is shown by Una Bennett in the Cirque Bouffon, which is still in Cologne until May 22nd.

When Ezra was 16, the two were allowed to go to a summer camp in Vermont. A camp that was a circus. “We had a tent that was a little bigger than Bouffon’s, and we had around 70 performances in two months.” The reputation of this circus, in which the artists were between ten and 18 years old, was really good, the entrance free. They toured New England states like Maine, Massachusetts and Upstate New York and stayed with local families. “You’re still a kid, but you have a schedule. All kids are interested in the same thing. freedom and adventure. It really prepares you for life. An experience for which we are still grateful today,” says Una. “We really wanted that,” adds Ezra. “It’s like living this dream that you run away from home and live with the circus. Except that you will also be looked after, the structures of a summer camp are there.”

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Ezra Weill juggles hats.

Even if it was difficult to imagine living as a professional circus performer in the States at the time, the idea matured back then. Ezra Weill went to a kind of circus university in Montreal, his sister followed a year later. “Both of our majors,” says Una and laughs, “was rope. Minor in hula hoop for me, juggling hats for Ezra. You can see that at Cirque Bouffon now.” The show’s outstanding clown, Antonin Wicky, graduated from the same school, by the way, and the three are close friends.

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All three went to the circus university in Montreal: Clown Antonin Wicky, Una Bennett and Ezra Weill (from left)

“In normal life, I live in a trailer in the south of France,” says Bennett. She and about 15 other artists have been stuck there for the past two years because of the pandemic, there was no work. Her brother lives in Brussels. After a trip to South America, where he learned how to make the hats he juggles in Bolivia, Weill ended up in Europe. He works in Switzerland for three years before ending up in Belgium. Even if both miss the USA and especially their parents, they love their life “on the move”. “Let’s see how it will be when I have children,” says Ezra, “I can’t imagine children without their grandparents.”

The two haven’t seen much of Cologne yet. They like the “really friendly people”, the cafés in the Belgisches Viertel, the park around the Aachener Weiher. “I’ve been to the crazy big music store, but I haven’t even been to the chocolate museum, although we play right here,” says Weill.

Every time he comes out of the train station, the cathedral takes his breath away. “We are freelancers, we have to take care of new jobs and then we are often on the computer,” said his sister. Both have a lot of fun at Bouffon, not only because they can make music, but because they can work together again for the first time in almost ten years. “And Director Frédéric Zipperlin gives us all the freedom that makes work even better.”

Dst Circus Bouffon still guesting in Cologne until May 22nd.

The music ensemble of the Cirque Bouffon, Triole & Friends, performs his solo program “Syno”. A quartet around the composer Sergej Sweschinski presents a fusion of Western European influences and Eastern European Balkan sounds. The organizer promises “a musical world full of poetic images, tender wildness and clownish soli that touches the heart.” The concert is this Tuesday, May 10th, 7:30 p.m. in the Chapiteau of the Cirque Bouffon in the Rheinauhafen. Tickets are only available at the box office. They cost 15 euros.

Source: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger – Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger by

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