"Le Groupe du Soleil"
Text by: Richard Russo | December 2002
Fascination! Newsletter, Issue #16
Names and labels like "Créations Méandres", "Tous Azimuts",
"Télémagik", and "Enterprises Nâga" have been seen on various Cirque
du Soleil programmes, videos, CDs and other merchandise world-wide.
Having seen these names one might ask how they all fit into the
company known as Cirque du Soleil. In our efforts to investigate the
various treasures that lurk inside Cirque du Soleil programmes, Let's
take a moment to expand upon one of them: "Le Groupe du Soleil".
Imagine... when a handful of street performers met in the 1980s to do
a show from time to time in their native Quebec they couldn't have
dreamed where it would lead them, and yet this troupe flourished in a
region with no circus tradition. Their drive and determination turned
a collection of artists into one of the most recognizable companies in
entertainment today. And it wouldn't surprise anyone to know that the
Cirque du Soleil name is actually an umbrella, encompassing various
divisions and companies.
What then is "Le Groupe du Soleil"?
"Le Groupe du Soleil" was and in many cases still is an interesting
piece of Cirque's corporate puzzle from the very beginning of this
enigmatic troupe. For example, from its initial creation through to
1989, Le Cirque du Soleil was produced by "Club des Talons Hauts,
Inc.," the same group Cirque was born from. In that instance they were
produced by that Company. Later that same year (August 1989), the last
year the creators had given themselves to firmly establish their art,
Cirque du Soleil as a Company changed and morphed into "Le Groupe du
Soleil", completely shedding their "High-Heals Club" roots. Under the
guidance of Daniel Gauthier (a one-time Cirque Treasurer, President
and founding member), this new moniker encompassed many of the derived
companies that sprang up in support of the artists and their product.
- Le Cirque du Soleil Productions -- Spark. This is the starting point;
"the locomotive; the raison d'être". This part of the Groupe
specializes in mounting tours, staffing its workshops and studios, and
managing its vehicle fleet and specialized equipment.
Créations Méandres -- Creativity. This division manages the authors
rights and copyrights, and takes charge of recruitment, training and
publishes the music for the shows. This division was also known as Les
Productions Méandres Inc.
Tous Azimuts Enterprises -- Investment. Tous Azimuts is an investment
company handling the creation and development of other related
companies for Cirque du Soleil. Tous Azimuts is also responsible for
the marketing and publishing of CDs, programmes, T-shirts and other
products bearing the Cirque du Soleil logo and likeness.
Télémagik -- Filmworks. This division was formed in 1988 and released
the original 90-minute version of "Le Magie Continue", as well as
various other Cirque du Soleil shows through the years. Télémagik was
renamed Cirque du Soleil Images in May of 1997 to better brand the
multimedia company with its parent.
Enterprises Nâga -- Services. This division provides a range of
services from snack-bars to the creation, production, distribution,
and management of Cirque du Soleil's promotional products. Enterprises
Nâga released the CD and Vinyl editions of "Cirque du Soleil", the
original 1987 tour music.
Admission/Microflex -- Tickets. This company was started with the
assistance of Cirque du Soleil to distribute tickets for its shows as
well as other cultural and sporting events throughout Quebec. Together
with Microflex, a software company that specialized in computerized
ticketing, it became the largest ticket-sales network in the province.
Today Admission is owned by TicketMaster, the largest ticket-sales
company in the world.
"Le Groupe du Soleil" is but one of many treasures awaiting discovery
within the classic Cirque du Soleil programmes, and there are many
more yet to come. Today you know "Le Groupe du Soleil" simply as
"Cirque du Soleil, Inc." but you can still see many of the derivatives
of the Groupe still at work. Look at the fine print inside your
programme or on your CD... you might be surprised!