Cirque Corner


Cirque du Soleil [ You are here: Grand Chapiteau | Historia | 1984 ]




1982 · 1983
1984 · 1985
1986 · 1987
1988 · 1989


1990 · 1991
1992 · 1993
1994 · 1995
1996 · 1997
1998 · 1999


2000 · 2001
2002 · 2003
2004 · 2005
2006 · 2007
2008 · 2009


2010 · 2011
2012 · 2013
2014 · 2015
2016 · 2017
2018 · 2019
2020 · 2021







The name, meaning "Sun Circus" or "Circus of the Sun", came to the troupe's founder Guy Laliberté whilst pondering his future on a white, sandy beach in Hawaii. "I knew," Laliberte recalls, "that I had to choose a name that would last forever, a name that would suggest energy and youth and power. So I thought: why not the sun?" Wishing his new circus to embody youth, energy, power, light and spirit, he naturally chose the sun as his emblem. Once armed with an identity, the Les Productions du Cirque du Soleil officially came together on June 16, 1984, and Laliberté’s goal to bring together creative talent to delight new audiences in new locations takes a bold step forward. For the festivities, the newly-formed Cirque presents a totally new concept: a striking, dramatic mix of the circus arts and street entertainment, featuring wild, outrageous costumes, staged under magical lighting and set to original music. The The show debuts in a little 800 seat blue-and-yellow big top in the small Quebec town of Gaspé, the very same place Mr. Cartier's voyage took him as he desperately tried to find a land route through to the Orient so long ago, and continued across 11 towns over the course of 13 weeks (running concurrently with the third La Fête Foraine) delighting 30,000 spectators.

It was far from an instant smashing success, however.

The first shows were riddled with difficulty, starting with the collapse of the big top thanks to the increased weight of rainwater – the central mast snapped. Working with a borrowed tent, Laliberté and Co then had to contend with difficulties from the European performers. They were so unhappy with the Québecois experience, they had, at one point, sent a letter to the media complaining about how they were being treated. (Well enough for a street group, apparently not so for an established circus performer). The problems were only transient, however, and by the time the festivities came to a close, Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil was a success (one of the few successful events of the 450th celebration).

Cirque becomes a multicultural gathering point, with performers from Quebec, Belgium, Switzerland and Argentina. The crazy dreams of a two friends begin to take wing. And maybe those dreams aren't so crazy after all. Maybe this idea about a different kind of circus is something that audiences will respond to. Maybe it will flourish. Sometimes you just have to trust to fate and follow where your dreams lead you... Youth, boldness, instinct, vision and a certain zany talent are their stock in trade.

And Cirque du Soleil hasn’t stopped since!

With $60,000 left in the bank, Laliberté went back to the Canadian government to secure funding for a second year. While the Canadian federal government was enthusiastic to the idea, the Quebec provincial government was resistant. It was not until Quebec's Premier, René Lévesque, intervened that the provincial government relented and funding for the second year was secured. (Consequently, the original big top tent that was used during the 1984 Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil tour can now be seen at Carnivàle Lune Bleue, a 1930s-style carnival that is home to the Cirque Maroc acrobats.) With funding secured, Laliberté took steps to renovate his troupe from a group of street performers into a "proper circus".

1983 1985
Cirque Corner