Global Voices: Acrobat

Global Voices: Acrobat

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 7:00pm

Caption: Rehearsing together for the first time, Fabrice is on Alex's shoulders

Credit: Hold Up Films

Fabrice Champion was a world-renowned circus performer until he collided in mid-air with another trapeze artist and was rendered quadriplegic. Acrobat, airing Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 7 p.m. on WXXI World (DT21.1/cable 524), is told as a first-person narrative from Fabrice's perspective, as he provides insight into his journey from the hospital and rehabilitation back to the circus life.

This video is no longer available online, but you can purchase it through iTunes, by click here.

Three years after the accident, Fabrice decided to follow the Professor Dikoul rehabilitation program at a Moscow hospital. The program is based on very impressive exercises: abdominal training with pulleys and chains, walking within parallel bars wearing iron boots, being hooked up to a metallic structure in order to stand up. Strangely enough, it was only amidst this surreal setting that Fabrice eventually realized that his dreams for himself extended beyond the desire to simply walk again.

Eventually he returns to the Rosny National Circus School near Paris to create the trapeze act for the students' yearly end of studies show. The film follows his struggles with self-confidence, and his turn toward Buddhism. Through it all, he pushes himself toward the goal of performing once more in the circus.

Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies, is a week-long outreach initiative designed to stimulate community dialogue about the perspectives and abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities.