To the strains of a live chamber orchestra 35 metres below, French tightrope artist Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga surprised Parisian crowds with a daring high-wire expedition to one of the city’s landmarks.
Bongonga, 34, walked on a rope suspended by a crane at the base of the Montmartre hill’s steps towards the Sacre Coeur basilica on Sunday without any security equipment, a gesture many in the audience found nerve-wracking.
Not content to simply complete the aerial jaunt, Bongonga stopped at times to balance on one leg and do the splits while making everyone watching from below extremely nervous.
“It’s very surprising and very dangerous. It really impressed me, actually. I noticed that she was not secured. There was a lot of acrobatics. I had a really good time,” spectator Jennifer Mandelbaum said.
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Bongonga has practised tightrope walking since she was eight, when she joined a circus school near Caen.
The feat took less than 15 minutes to complete but was the result of about a year’s preparation by Bongonga and her team.
Acrobats practising tightrope walking, also called funambulism, maintain their balance by positioning their centre of mass directly over their base of support, a rope or a wire.
The 34-year-old, who also has a degree in psychology, will soon be performing her stunts around the world, heading to Japan and Denmark.
Watch Bongonga’s death-defying stunt below: