A Look at its Past
Going back more than 20 years in the past, Cirque du Soleil, literally "circus of the sun," began in the early 80s in Montreal with a group of street performers-jugglers, stilt-walkers, fire-eaters and acrobats-who performed in a tent that seated 800. Guy Laliberte, an accordion player, stilt walker and fire-eater, dove into business to organize and plan the growth of the young company, creating one of the most amazing entertainment venues for a global stage. Cirque du Soleil reinvented the concept of circus with its presentation of striking, dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment set to original music, breathtaking costumes, and magical sets. The main premise of Cirque du Soleil is to celebrate the raw power and beauty of human physical performance. In its fantastical world, a man can fly and a woman can walk on water. More than 23 million people have seen one of its 12 productions since its inception!
The Circus made its first US tour in 1987 and met with an immense success and praise from the US audience. By 1990, their success was such that Cirque du Soleil had begun touring the world. In 1996 their ninth production (Quidam) was created. In 2000, Cirque staged eight shows on four continents, with 2,100 employees worldwide and four satellite headquarters to manage touring and permanent shows. Early shows such as 'Fascination', 'New Experience', and 'Circus' are not currently being performed; but as of 2007, 16 different Cirque du Soleil shows are being presented around the world. Sixty-five percent of Cirque du Soleil performers are athletes some of them are also Olympians.
Cirque Du Soleil Shows
Among its multitude of shows worldwide, some are touring shows while others are exclusive to their venue. The list of its shows include Alegria, Corteo, Delirium, Dralion, KA, Kooza, La Nouba, Love, Myst?re, "O", Quidam, Saltimbanco, Varekai, Wintuk, and Zumanity. In all these shows, colorful acrobatics flirt with the absurd through the use of music, humor, dance, and glorious (and often risque) costumes. The cirque has four resident companies in Las Vegas, and one in Orlando. In Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil has a special partnership with MGM MIRAGE to create and present unique and innovative productions including Mystere at Treasure Island, "O" at Bellagio, ZUMANITY, the Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil at New York-New York Hotel and Casino, KA at MGM Grand, and LOVE at The Mirage. In 1996 the Cirque signed a contract with Walt Disney also. La Nouba is the first show to spring from this partnership and is held at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fl. Every couple of years one of its international touring companies returns to where it all began, the Vieux-Port, and sets up the familiar blue-and-yellow tent for a summer of sold-out shows.
In media, Cirque du Soleil has released three documentary DVDs: "The Mystery of Mystere", "FLOW: A Tribute to the Artists of "O" and "A Thrilling Ride Through Kooza". In 2008, Cirque du Soleil opened two new resident shows - one in Las Vegas, Nevada (at the Luxor) and in Tokyo, Japan (at Tokyo Disneyland Resort).
The Magic of the Cirque
The main reason that people are so drawn to Cirque du Soleil is its aliveness, the immediacy of its performance. These are special effects based on the human body rather than technological sleight of hand. Knowing this, you are keenly aware that this is real and are amazed rather spell bound by this magical communion between audience and artist. Cirque's particular brand of magic has been called "surrealistic art," a show "so imaginative...that it simply astonishes." The physical skills of the performers are beyond imagination. Their grace and strength seem superhuman as they balance each other, every muscle in the human body working in total harmony with the other. Its performers seem to defy gravity and make the impossible possible, providing a kind of involvement in wonder-an immersive experience-that engages intellect and emotion. The costumes and colors in themselves are provocative.
An amazing show! Cirque du Soleil finds the most incredible performers on earth and assembles them on stage for shows that literally defy description and leave audiences gasping and begging for more!
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