Jazz Fest: Acro-Yoga Contortionists

Spontaneity is what defines artists Stanley Norris and Mireille Chamberland, two Quebec-born contortionists who entertained audiences with their flexibility and strength at Montreal’s International Jazz Festival.

Their performance, a free 30-minute outdoor dance piece drawing crowds of up to 300 people, blended elements of comedy, tango, striptease and romance, with a focus on acro-yoga—a practice founded in Montreal that fuses yoga, acrobatics and dance.

Though they’ve only known each other for less than eight months, the young performers share the same philosophy—making their partnership dynamic, spontaneous and always open to new opportunities.

“Stan is the kind of guy that says yes to just about anything,” said Chamberland, who began dancing at the age of five. “When you put the two of us together, there’s really not much that stops us in life.”

In fact, saying ‘yes’ is exactly how the young artists launched their performance careers.

Shortly after meeting for the first time last November at an acro-yoga training session in Montreal, Norris and Chamberland spontaneously agreed to perform together at Lululemon’s Masquerade Ball, putting together their routine in only a few hours.

Since then, the couple has stretched out on stages across Montreal, Chicoutimi, Sainte-Adèle and Toronto, sharing their passion for acro-yoga with audiences.

“Acro yoga has inspired me to take massive steps, even leaps towards my passions,” said Norris, who began learning and practicing acro-yoga in parks around Dubai, where he lived for over 13 years.

“It’s amazing to know that I’m able to pass on my passion to others with Mireille.”

For Jazz Fest, the duo modified their traditional routine to a more engaging street performance, where they interact with those spectating.

“The audience just wants to have a good time,” said Chamberland. “Many of them come to the Jazz Festival from out of town and some are here on vacation, so they are generally very open, excited and engaged in our show.”

The partners hope to expand their experiences in the performance world by staying true to their values of spontaneity and positivity.

“To me, the essence of yoga is to be able to have faith in yourself,” Norris said. “Follow your passions, go with the flow and say yes.”

If you missed their performance at the Jazz Fest, visit flyandflow.com to take part in the partners’ acro-yoga classes, workshops and events.

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