At Cirque du Soleil, each show is a concept in itself. A general theme is
developed around an acrobatic and theatrical framework. The cast comprises the
house troupe, guest acts, clowns and musicians. The house troupe is the foundation,
the heart of the show. The performers who are chosen as its members go through a
three-step process: research and training; creation of dramatic characters in
workshops; and finally, rehearsals and staging.
Research and training is carried out in our Montreal studios and lasts
several months. Performers from various disciplines are supervised by skilled
instructors, coaches and teachers, all aware of each performer's achievements
and experience. Their job is to mould the artists into a homogeneous group that
will dazzle audiences with original circus acts.
During the creation process, the director brings out the performers’ creative
potential. He asks them to look deep within themselves and express themselves
fully. This is the very essence of the creation process for each and every Cirque
du Soleil show: letting each performer’s energy and potential inspire the whole
troupe. It is in doing so that the performers discover and explore the range of
their talent. — "The Spirit of Cirque"
While Alegría pursues its
journey across Europe, Quidam
finishes up its North American tour, which includes a stopover in Dallas, a first for Cirque
du Soleil. During its three-year tour, almost 1,000 performances have been held
under the blue-and-yellow big top. All in all, over 2,500,000 North American
spectators have applauded Quidam.
Cirque du Soleil continues to expand, opening up another regional HQ: In January 1998,
Cirque du Soleil opened an office in Singapore - its first permanent presence
in Asia. A staff of 40 will work out of the Singapore office to make the circus
a household name to Asian audiences. The head office will be located in a "shop
house" - a traditional Singaporean commercial building. The first project on the
agenda will be setting up a rotating tour on a three-year cycle, with Saltimbanco
as the debut production. Cirque du Soleil already operates a satellite office in
Tokyo. The Japanese office cultivates business relationships with such long-time
partners as Fuji Television Network in Tokyo and Twin Dome City in Fukuoka.
Saltimbanco will premiere
in the fall of 1998 and run through early 2002. Stops
scheduled for the tour are Singapore, six cities in Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong,
Taiwan, six cities in Australia, and New Zealand. Cirque du Soleil’s entry into
the Asia-Pacific market will extend the lifespan of Cirque productions from six
to nine years.
Inspired by the success of Mystère,
Bellagio developer Steve Wynn had big ideas for anaquatic Cirque at his new resort,
opening in October 1998. Really big ideas: "An Olympic stadium-sized water thing
(with) lasers, fountains, dry ice and ski-jumpers," Laliberté recalls. "Thank God
there was a cost factor related to the craziness of his thinking that forced (Wynn)
to focus a little bit, and we brought him back to the theatrical environment again,"
he adds. "We had one reference that we didn't want to achieve: The 'Waterworld'
movie," Hollywood's notoriously over-budgeted 1995 dud. Instead, the $92 million
"O" became a Las Vegas must-see and
sets a new benchmark for excellence in theatrical entertainment everywhere.
And after almost 10 years of discussion, Cirque du Soleil finally teams with
Disney to present La Nouba in
Orlando. The agreement occurs after direct intervention from Michael Eisner,
chairman and CEO of Disney, who concedes to Cirque's long-maintained insistence that
it retain creative control. Moreover, a custom-made theatre is built for Cirque’s
unique requirements. The show opens in December to rave reviews.