Cirque Corner


Cirque du Soleil [ You are here: Grand Chapiteau | Historia | 1995 ]




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







In the beautifully illustrated book that celebrated Cirque du Soleil's 10th anniversary, there is a black-and-white photo, taken in 1982, that shows Gilles Ste. Croix, a lean, mustachoed, long-haired stiltwalker, setting off on a solitary walkathon to help raise funds for a new circus entertainment that he and his street-performer colleagues had launched in Quebec. Now move forward 13 years. Ste. Croix is still lean, but he no longer has a mustache or long hair. For a fund-raising device, he has traded in his stilts for a cellular phone, through which he keeps in touch with the ever-expanding, far-flung empire of the Cirque.

The little summer festival that he and his friends started just outside Quebec City has grown into a full-blown circus that they put under a blue and yellow striped tent and called Cirque du Soleil. Their first circus cost $50,000, employed 62 people and ran for a little less than three summer months in Quebec. The performers brought their own costumes. Now, with year-round operations on three continents, the Cirque spends about $2.5 million on each show and charges a top ticket price of $41. The organization's annual budget runs around $55 million and there is a payroll of 600 persons. There are 45 performers wearing 90 costumes in the latest creation, Alegría, with each costume custom designed for the particular magical environment of this production.

While Alegría continues to pursue its triumphant North American tour, Saltimbanco, which wrapped up its American visits in 1993, and conquered Japan in 1994, officially opened the European market for another two-year run. Cirque's spectacular white big top with seating for 2,500 spectators makes its first stop in Amsterdam (which beomces the site of Cirque du Soleil's European headquarters), followed by Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Vienna. Whilst in Vienna, Cirque du Soleil is invited to partake in the The Royal Variety Performance, a gala held annually in the United Kingdom to raise money for the Royal Variety Charity (of which Queen Elizabeth II is life-patron), and is attended by senior members of the royal family. The evening's performance is presented as a live variety show, usually from a theater in London, and consists of family entertainment that includes comedy, music, dance, magic and other speciality acts. For this year's performance, Cirque du Soleil included a little sneak-peek of Saltimbanco: a bit of mayhem by the Baroques, a warning from The Baron, hand-to-hand by the Lorador Brothers, Contortion (which had joined the show for the European tour), and Adagio.

Back home at its headquarters in Montreal, the Cirque creative team was busy developing the early stages of their next offering, which will repeat the now-established five-year cycle of American-Japanese-European touring.

On other fronts, Ste. Croix says, Cirque management is preparing a television series and a feature film, either for theatrical release or cable or network showing, and responds to a request from the Canadian government and createsa show for the heads of state gathered at the G7 Summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia. By spring of 1998, an even larger theater for Cirque attractions should be ready to open in Las Vegas. The amazing thing about this phenomenal expansion is that it has been accomplished by the same crew of ragamuffin players who began so modestly in 1982.

"We came from nothing," Ste. Croix says. "We have grown from street players to company managers, but we have tried to make that a comfortable growth. At this stage, we are the originals, still running the show and still carrying the original spirit, but now we must learn to spread that company spirit with new people whom we invite to sit around our table. The flame continues to burn inside of us, but we must be able to pass that flame on to the right people in the future."

1994 1996

Cirque Corner