Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another product of Canada: the gymnastic, dance & music extravaganza called Cirque de Soleil

Cirque de Soleil
Originally uploaded by Spike in Irvine
Cirque du Soleil (French for "Circus of the Sun,") is an entertainment company. Based in Montréal, Québec, Canada and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier.[1]

No ring and no animals helped make Cirque du Soleil the modern circus ("Cirque Nouveau"/New Circus) that it is today.[3]

Each show is a synthesis of circus styles from around the world, with its own central theme and storyline. They draw the audience into the performance through continuous live music, with performers rather than stagehands changing the props, and by having no curtains. After critical and financial successes (Los Angeles Arts Festival) and failures in the late 1980s, Nouvelle Expérience was created – with the direction of Franco Dragone – which not only made Cirque profitable by 1990, but allowed it to create new shows.[4]

Cirque expanded rapidly through the 1990s and 2000s, going from one show with 73 employees in 1984 to approximately 3,500 employees from over 40 countries producing 15 shows over every continent, with an estimated annual revenue exceeding US$600 million.[2][5] The multiple permanent Las Vegas shows alone play to more than 9,000 people a night—5% of the city's visitors—adding to the 70+ million people who have experienced Cirque.

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