It was only a decade ago that Quebecoise accordian player, Guy Laliberte, hit on the idea. In 1982 he organized a street performers festival in the St. Lawrence valley town of Baie St. Paul. It was a runaway success and so a couple of years later, when th e government in Quebec was looking for events to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the arrival of Jacques Cartier, Laliberte suggest that they fund him to create a 'Cirque du Soleil'. With $1.6 million in his pocket he was off and running.
In that decade the Cirque du Soleil has become an international phenomenon with a series of spectacularly successful productions which have toured all over North America. The budget of the Circus (90% of which is self generated or comes from private sponsors) is now over $10 million dollars and their three companies now give over 300 shows a year to 500,000 or more people.
Not only a popular success, the circus is an artistic one as well taking the circus skills and abilities from their hackneyed sawdust surroundings to the glamour and spectacle of the theatrical stage where lights, costumes, scenography and artistic vision matter as much as particular skills. People, young and old have been entraced by their imaginative vision.
In 1995, during the G-7 Summit in Halifax, the Cirque du Soleil had the honour of participating in the festivities and did a command performance of the assembled leaders of Canada, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the European Community and Russia. The Cirque composed a special show with segments of their shows Alegria, Saltimbanco and Mystere which it also performed to Halifax audiences to great success and acclaim.
Of particular interest to local jugglers was one of the performers, the wonderful acrobat, juggler and contortionist Elena Andreevna Lev. Only thirteen years old, Elena is already an extraordinary talent, coached and inspired by her parents Andrei and Elena Lev, both also performers with the Cirque du Soleil.
For further information on the Cirque du Soleil contact:
Those who are interested can investigate Jobs with the Cirque du Soleil.