Inside Miami’s underground Cirque Scene
Nicolas Allard - Les Ailes du Desir Foundation COO - says the sky’s the limit for aerial performance art
Wednesday 8 June 2022 By Ellen Marchman Photos courtesy of LADD
What if you could learn to fly? Nicolas Allard, COO of Les Ailes du Désir Foundation (LADD), has made that fantasy his reality.
Along the emerging Allapattah Arts District in Miami, across from the Rubell Museum, LADD is a non-profit dedicated to circus arts performances. A breathtaking mix of aerial, theatre, dance, and acrobatics welcomes Soho Beach House members to its debut of Drop into the Blue – a circus show cabaret on Thursday 9 June at Superblue Miami.
Allard found the stage at an early age, growing up in France. While the majority of our first steps are on the floor, his took place in the air. Specialising in swinging trapeze, he moved to Montreal at the age of 18 to join the National Circus School. In 2020, he competed in the 41st edition of Cirque de Demain Festival in Paris, where he won the competition’s gold medal.
His first taste of the Magic City was at Fisher Island. Claudine Choquette, founder of LADD and a Montreal native, spotted Allard’s talent early on. She brought him to Miami on New Year’s Eve of 2021 for an exclusive performance. Understanding their audience was craving something extraordinary to lift them out of a pandemic, the duo brought international performers in circus arts for a dinner show that prompted accolades beyond their wildest dreams.
Discovering the immense talent pool of performers in Miami, Allard and Choquette realised they had struck gold and produced something new, innovative, and immersive. Allard shares, ‘Claudine has a long-standing career in finance, after pursuing a career in contemporary dance in the UK while practising trapeze regularly. Her atypical background never ceases to amaze me. I recall her telling me: “the sun doesn’t come cheap, but Miami is full of undiscovered gems”. We are working 24/7 to elevate these artists to the masses.’
Allard’s creative philosophy is inclusion over exclusion. After working with larger cirque companies in Canada, he journeyed to South Florida. Just last month, he and his boyfriend Charlie rented a U-Haul, driving their two dogs, a French bulldog and Doberman, to Miami. Fast forward and Allard is now the creative director and COO of Les Ailes du Désir Foundation, unveiling fresh talent in circus arts to Miami and beyond.
While Miami is renowned for over-the-top performances, LADD delivers something different. The foundation is committed to exploring the vast possibilities in art education and entertainment, and is now a major player with top performance artists and brands within the arts scene.
Naturally, Allard’s vision is sky high. Aerial artists spin, bend and fly beyond imagination on a simple truss of 28 feet. From the artist who twirls from a single mount in her hair to another who rides a bell cart to the rafters, anything is possible.
New partnerships with Soho House and Superblue Miami are an organic evolution. To bring LADD to the next level, Allard and his boyfriend, former innovation designer at Cirque du Soleil, are planning to open an innovation lab to empower performers and create a resident show in Miami to rival those in Paris and Las Vegas.
Click here to join Soho Beach House for Les Ailes du Désir Foundation (LADD)’s debut Drop into the Blue at Superblue on Thursday 9 June.