Cirque du Soleil
du Soleil (French for "Circus of the Sun")
is an entertainment empire based in Montreal, Quebec,
Canada and founded in Quebec in 1984 by two former
street performers, Guy Laliberté and Daniel
Gauthier. It was an answer to a call by Commissariat
général aux célébrations
1534-1984 of the Quebec Government for the 450th anniversary
celebration of the discovery of Canada by French explorer
Jacques Cartier (b 1491-d 1557). Gauthier, who left
the company in 2001, now owns the ski area Le Massif,
on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Cirque du Soleil
is now "guided" by Laliberté.
has been described as the modern circus, and focuses
upon a storyline as well as amazing performances.
It has several resident and touring troupes and draws
heavily from the circus tradition. Emphasizing the
use of humans as performers, Cirque du Soleil does
not make use of animals. Instead, its performances
combine elements of street performances and busking,
circus, opera, ballet, and rock music. Acts include
contortionists, jugglers, feats of strength, clowning,
and trapeze artists. Their costumes are very colorful.
Cirque shows do not use pre-recorded music; all music
is played live, and in many performances the spoken
parts are done in Cirquish, an imaginary language
invented by the company.
shows begin as a creative concept, usually with elements
of a central story line, a design concept and the
selection of a composer for the music. These elements
remain relatively constant throughout the production
run of a given show.
the shows also include both "house" and
"guest" acts. House acts are performed by
the full-time cast members, some whom may be involved
in several routines. Not all prepared routines are
presented in every performance. Guest acts rotate
in and out over the run of the show (clowns are typically
guest acts). As a result, Cirque shows can vary somewhat
performance to performance, and shows tend to evolve
over time. Cirque creators borrow from some of circus's
earliest forms (for example, banquine and teeterboard
acts) but also regularly introduce new apparatus.
For example, Cirque introduced the use of bungee cords
to aerial acts and created a modified tumbling trampoline
called a Power Track, both of which have since been
adopted by other circuses.
du Soleil recruits acts from different world circuses,
including from China and Russia, blending them into
their own style.
veteran circus performers, Cirque is regarded as one
of the world's best circuses, due to higher than normal
pay scales and benefits.
du Soleil has produced a number of performance DVDs
and soundtrack CDs.
troupe was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. (Credit: