Who never heard of the Cirque du Soleil? The world-famous show has managed to secure its place among the best of this planet, surely for a long time. Cirque du Soleil originated in Quebec, Canada, in 1984, the initiative of two street artists. While only 73 people worked for the company when it started, today it employs more than 4,000! That for sure reflects well the tremendous success known by the shows over the years.
Cirque du Soleil’s specialty is contemporary circus shows, aiming to raise emotions in the public through the evocation of imagination and the invocation of the senses. There are no animals at Cirque du Soleil, and acrobatics prevail.
Currently, Cirque du Soleil operates 10 shows all around the world. Six are set under big marquees and four in permanent arenas. While the shows usually change every year, some are what we call ‘resident’, which means they are played for several years in the same venue, such as Believe in Las Vegas or La Nouba in Orlando. In particular, Believe has been programmed for ten years at the Luxor hotel in Vegas (2008-2018). For the first time, Cirque du Soleil has decided to center a whole show on just one artist: illusionist and magician Criss Angel, whom you might already know thanks to his TV show Mindfreak. The show tells the story of a night prince with magical powers through acts of magic, illusion, dance, acrobatics, pyrotechnical effects and puppets.
Up to this day, 32 different shows have been created by Cirque du Soleil. In 2009, the creation of OVO marked the first production of a show entirely realized by a woman, namely Deborah Colker. The show revolves around traditional circus art, dance and traditional Brazilian music, Colker’s country of origin. The story of the show has been inspired by biodiversity among insects, through the tale of an egg that fell into their world.
Despite its success throughout the years, Cirque du Soleil is currently experiencing a financial turmoil. In 2012, for the first time in its history, the company did not make any profits and was forced to fire a significant number of its collaborators. In 2015, the circus had to be put on sale and some of its shares were bought by the Chinese investment fund Fosun, as well as by the US private equity firm TPG. According to Canadian media, Fosun now holds 20% of the firm, while TPG holds 60%.
Photos: Ververidis Vasilis, Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock