16 Jaw-Dropping Facts About Cirque du Soleil (2022)

Since its founding in 1984, the contemporary circus Cirque du Soleil has performed for more than 180 million people in 450 cities on every continent but Antarctica. In other words: There’s probably a Cirque show near you right now … or there will be soon.

For the uninitiated, Cirque du Soleil—which celebrates its 35th anniversary in July 2019—features a mix of circus acts, street performance, unparalleled acrobatic feats and the avant-garde. And no matter the show’s theme, technology always plays a role—the Montreal-based company, now one of the largest live theatrical companies in business, consistently ups its game with state-of-the-art stages, special effects and world-class stunts. Read on to learn even more jaw-dropping facts about Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil has its roots in Les Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (the Baie-Saint-Paul Stiltwalkers), a group that performed acts like fire-breathing and juggling on the streets of Baie-Saint-Paul in Quebec, Canada, in the early 1980s. One of the troupe's members was Guy Laliberté, who eschewed a college education to join the group; in 1984, he presented a proposal to the Canadian government for a company of performers that would tour across the country to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier's discovery of Canada. Laliberté landed a $1 million contract to make the proposal a reality, which led to the incorporation of the group as a non-profit under the name Cirque du Soleil.

  1. The name Cirque du Soleil means "Circus of the Sun."

"When I need to take time to reenergize, I go somewhere by the ocean to sit back and watch the sunsets. That is where the idea of 'Soleil' came from, on a beach in Hawaii, and because the Sun is the symbol of youth and energy," Laliberté explained to Fortune in 2011.

(Video) Why you don't hear about Cirque du Soleil anymore

Cirque du Soleil's first show had 10 acts and hit 15 cities in Quebec. Now, there are 23 Cirque du Soleil shows worldwide, including six permanent shows in Las Vegas and 12 that are on tour. Though it's hard to determine the most popular show, Cirque du Soleil calls Alegría—which ran from 1994 to 2013 before being "reinterpreted in a renewed version" in 2019—one of its “most beloved shows,” with 6600 performances for more than 14 million audience members around the world. That’s a lot of tickets.

  1. Mystère is the longest-running Cirque du Soleil show.

Cirque’s first permanent show in Las Vegas, Mystère has also been on stage the longest of all Cirque productions. This lighthearted, family-friendly show opened in 1993 at Treasure Island and features a classic Cirque du Soleil mix of gymnastics and trapeze.

For example, —which premiered in 2005—cost at least $165 million to create, making it one of the most expensive theatrical productions in history (to compare, the Spider-Man musical, Broadway’s most expensive show, had cost estimates about half that). Much of the budget was for technical feats, including a battle scene featuring acrobats on wires fighting vertically. Sadly, it was during the battle sequence that aerialist Sarah Guillot-Guyard died in 2013. It was Cirque du Soleil’s first onstage fatality.

  1. There’s even a Cirque du Soleil show on ice.

Crystal, Cirque’s “first experience on ice,” premiered in December 2017 in Quebec City and Montreal. It’s basically the choreographed stunts you’d expect from Cirque du Soleil but everybody’s on skates.

(Video) FAN-FAVOURITE CLASSICS! | 60-MIN SPECIAL #16 | Cirque du Soleil | VAREKAI, ALEGRIA, QUIDAM

Cirque du Soleil employs 1300 performers from 50 different countries, and Cirque says about 40 percent of its artists come from disciplines like rhythmic gymnastics and diving. To that end, in 2016, Cirque had 22 Olympians (including two medalists) on stage in a variety of roles, from high-flying trampoline acts to synchronized swimmers. That’s not to mention the many performers who are recruited from national gymnastics teams.

  1. Cirque du Soleil cast members train extensively.

Before being cast in a specific show, prospective performers attend artistic and acrobatic training at Cirque du Soleil’s international headquarters in Montreal. Depending on the show and the role, cast members then do daily training and warm-ups, sometimes lasting more than 90 minutes, along with regular rehearsals. The daily work-outs can include weight lifting, stretching, handstands, pull-ups, sit-ups, and rope work.

Traveling Cirque shows have a team of around five chefs who pump out meals for cast and crew each day. Menus change daily and incorporate local specialties in whatever city the show lands (think: bison in Denver; étouffée in Louisiana). In a 2017 interview, Cirque kitchen manager Paola Muller said that the kitchen can run through 2000 to 3000 pounds of food a week. A 2016 Thrillist article notes that 90 to 100 pounds of protein are served at each meal, and there’s a salad bar with 22 ingredients.

  1. Cirque du Soleil takes safety seriously—but the stunts are still dangerous.

Cirque du Soleil cast members pull off dangerous stunts on the regular. But even with stringent safety systems in place (some performers have called them “annoying”), injuries and accidents happen. According to Vanity Fair there were 53 injuries at the permanent Las Vegas shows in 2012, and in 2018, an aerialist was killed in Florida during a performance of Volta.

(Video) Cirque du Soleil - Corteo LIVE at The O2

She took Princes Harry and William to an early performance by the group in 1990. In early 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, attended a Cirque du Soleil charity performance; the duchess wore one of Diana's bracelets and a dress inspired by one of her late mother-in-law's looks.

  1. Cirque du Soleil has an outreach program based on the “social circus.”

Established in 1995, Cirque du Monde supports the philosophy that circus arts can be used as interventions for at-risk youth, creating confidence and community for kids who need it. This idea is referred to as “the social circus”; this and other global citizen campaigns have reached 100,000 kids in 50 countries.

The costumes for all Cirque shows are unique in that they have to be not only stunning but also athletically practical and safe. Cirque’s Montreal Costume Workshop employs 300 full-time artisans, including shoemakers, milliners, and textile designers.

Each costume’s evolution requires a lot of ingenuity—and trial and error. Take, for instance, Cirque’s water show, O, in Las Vegas. Some costume pieces are made out of shower curtains, pipe cleaners, or bits of foam to make them float in the water. The wardrobe staff here does 60 loads of laundry a night to keep the 4800 costumes and accessories clean, and there’s a totally separate room dedicated to drying, complete with specialized heaters.

(Video) Behind The Scenes With Cirque du Soleil's Superhuman Performers

  1. Luzia is the first Cirque show in Spanish.

Although Cirque du Soleil shows don’t regularly rely on speaking parts (that’s what the mimes are for!), Luzia is the first show to be entirely en Español. Luzia’s title combines two Spanish words—luz for “light” and lluvia for “rain”—and features a state-of-the-art rain curtain and revolving stage.

A natural extension of the Cirque experience? Virtual reality. In 2018, MK2, a Paris-based company specializing in VR cinemas, acquired distribution rights to four Cirque shows, co-produced by Canada’s Felix & Paul. Now, you can experience moments from , Kurios, Luzia, and O on Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and more.

  1. Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles LOVE has been onstage longer than the Beatles.

Cirque’s Beatles show, LOVE, has been on stage since 2006. The Beatles were together for around a decade, from 1960 (or '62, if you're going by when Ringo Starr joined, and when they released their first single) to 1970. LOVE remains a stalwart of the Cirque canon, regularly selling about 75 to 90 percent theater capacity, and is at the top of many Vegas “must dos.”

FAQs

What is special about Cirque du Soleil? ›

Cirque du Soleil is a hybrid of circus, acrobatics, and dance performance (Berry, Shankar, Parish, Cadwallader, & Dotzel, 2006). It is a multi-level production without the menagerie of exotic animals, yet is one that captures the magnificence of the human form, agility, and creativity.

How many Cirque du Soleil are there? ›

Currently, there are 17 Cirque du Soleil shows being performed around the world. We've listed all the shows below, as well as their location.

How deep is the water in Cirque du Soleil? ›

Inside 'O': The technological magic of Cirque du Soleil

The lifts can quickly and smoothly drop from inches above water to the bottom of the pool 17 feet below, deep enough for a high diver to jump in from 60 feet in the air.

Did Cirque du Soleil ever have animals? ›

They Never Use Animals

Cirque du Soleil has never used animals in its shows, preferring to let their performers' talents shine.

What language does Cirque du Soleil speak? ›

In Alegria you will hear a mix of Spanish, Italian, English, French but most of the time you'll hear "Cirquish" - a made-up language by Cirque du Soleil!

What was the first Cirque du Soleil? ›

Cirque du Soleil first-ever musical show in arena, DELIRIUM, premiered in Montreal in January and has begun its US tour.

Which Cirque show is best? ›

Mystere has a reputation for being the best among the top Cirque shows. This Cirque du Soleil performance takes you into the depths of the imagination. It fills your world with vibrant colors, jaw-dropping acrobatics, and not-so-usual interpretations of circus acts.

What is the most expensive Cirque du Soleil show? ›

The Cirque du Soleil show called opened in 2005 at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, as the most expensive theatrical production in history.

Is Cirque du Soleil kid friendly? ›

Is Corteo appropriate for children? Like most of Cirque du Soleil's shows, Corteo is meant to entertain the whole family.

How much do Cirque du Soleil divers make? ›

Pay: $30,000 to $100,000 per year. Differs depending on position.

How big is the O pool? ›

The pool of "O" is 25 feet deep and holds 1.5 million gallons of water. Take home the official documentary of "O" by Cirque du Soleil, titled "Flow". It is available for purchase at any Cirque du Soleil store.

Is Cirque du Soleil vegan? ›

Cirque Du Soleil, the largest theatrical producer in the world, also doesn't rely on animals in its shows. Instead, puppeteers, stilt walkers, acrobats, dancers, and trapeze artists portray vibrant, enchanting characters.

Who owns Cirque du Soleil now? ›

The restructuring brought in US$375 million of new capital and left the circus under the control of creditors led by Catalyst Capital, a Canadian private equity group specializing in distressed debt.

How old are Cirque du Soleil performers? ›

Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Very few of our artists are minors, mainly because there are few roles that are intended for them in our current productions. We encourage you to follow your dreams and we will be happy to evaluate your application when you are 18 years old.

Why is it called Cirque du Soleil? ›

When it came time to give his troop of traveling acrobats a name, Guy Laliberté, thought of the name Cirque du Soleil (literally translated, "Circus of the Sun") while watching a sunset in Hawaii.

Where do Cirque performers live? ›

Where do you live when Cirque du Soleil moves from country to country? We live in good conditions. Sometimes it's inside the cities, other times it's outside of the cities, but we live in good hotels and apartments. Cirque tries to arrange the best stay for us.

Where do Cirque du Soleil artists live? ›

Montreal, Canada

During your time with us in Montreal you will be housed in our artists' residence, where we provide a secure and comfortable living space just across the street from our training facilities.

How much is Cirque du Soleil worth? ›

A majority interest in Cirque du Soleil, one of the largest live entertainment groups in the world, will be sold to private equity firm TPG Capital, according to a Tuesday press release. While the financial terms remain undisclosed, multiple reports price the deal at approximately $1.5 billion.

How long does Cirque du Soleil last? ›

Approximate show running time is 2 hours 10 minutes, including a 25 minute interval.

How do Cirque du Soleil train? ›

In terms of dance performers, Cirque du Soleil hires dancers with strong technique, an extensive repertoire and a great stage presence. Two other factors they look for are an open mind and a readiness to learn – because this isn't strictly a dance gig: it's entertainment.

Is Mystere or O better? ›

O is our favorite cirque show, has the most "wow" moments, but I would only suggest O over Mystere if you pay for the better seats, the O theater is the only cirque show that I firmly believe seating matters. Mystere is the best value cirque show, and also has awesome acrobatics.

Is Ka or Mystere better? ›

We loved both, but I would recommend Mystere for your first Cirque show. It's more prototypical CDS. Also, I think the less expensive seats (which I'm assuming are those offered on special) would work better at Mystere than at Ka. Mystere has more going on from every different angle.

How long do Cirque du Soleil performers train? ›

On top of that, we offer our artists the following benefits: Generally, our artists are offered one- or two-year contracts at a very competitive salary. Artists can usually expect to train an average of 12 hours a week.

What is the most expensive show in Vegas? ›

Most Expensive show...and worth every... - O - Cirque du Soleil
  • United States.
  • Nevada (NV)
  • Las Vegas.
  • Las Vegas - Things to Do.
  • O - Cirque du Soleil.

Is it cold at Cirque du Soleil? ›

Dress Warmly For Crystal by Cirque du Soleil

As with any show on ice, expect the arena for Crystal to be colder than normal. You'll want to be prepared for the cooler indoor temperature and those pre-show snowball fights.

Who is the youngest Cirque du Soleil performer? ›

The only child of renowned rope-climbing Russian contortionists Nikolai Tchelnokov, 32, and Galina Karableva, 34, Anton made his artistic debut with the Moscow Circus at the ripe old age of 3 and the 7-year-old is now touring North America as the youngest performer with Cirque du Soleil, which opened a five-week Orange ...

Does Cirque du Soleil pay well? ›

The average estimated annual salary, including base and bonus, at Cirque du Soleil is $117,903, or $56 per hour, while the estimated median salary is $118,031, or $56 per hour. At Cirque du Soleil, the highest paid job is a Director of Sales at $210,569 annually and the lowest is a CS Rep at $46,874 annually.

How much do Cirque du Soleil acrobats get paid? ›

Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group Salary FAQs

The average salary for an Acrobat is $52,522 per year in United States, which is 8% lower than the average Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group salary of $57,213 per year for this job.

Does O have a dress code? ›

There is no stated dress code, but "O" audiences are asked to adhere to the attire guidelines of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino. Age Requirement: Children under the age of five are not permitted into the "O" Theatre. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

What language is spoken in Mystere? ›

Cirquespeak is not new. It is a language actually used in other Cirque shows (by the baby character in “Mystere” and by the creatures in the wings at “Ka”), but not to the degree it is employed in “Zarkana.” Cirque's first rock opera, “Zarkana” supplants “Viva Elvis,” which closed in August.

Why is the show called O? ›

O is inspired by the "infinity and the elegance of water's pure form" and pays homage to the magic of theater. It's title being a phonetic word play on the French word "eau" meaning "water". O premiered on October 19, 1998 at The Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

How deep is the astronaut pool? ›

NASA uses the NBL pool not only for astronaut training and the refinement of spacewalk procedures, but also to develop flight procedures and verify hardware compatibility—all of which are necessary to achieve mission success. The NBL pool is 62 m (202 ft) long, 31m (102 ft) wide, and 12 m (40 ft) deep.

How early should I arrive to Cirque du Soleil? ›

I agree with others, if you have tickets in advance you are good as long you arrive to the show (not the parking of the hotel) 15-20 minutes early. This will allow plenty of time to buy something from the gift show or get a drink before the show starts.

Is Cirque du Soleil heated? ›

It has several HVAC (heating and air conditioning) units which keep the tent at the optimum temperature for performers and the audience. To bring the Cirque du Soleil fantasy to life takes dozens of people.

Do animals get abused at the circus? ›

To force animals to perform, circus trainers abuse them with whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks (heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on one end), and other painful tools of the circus trade.

What circus dont use animals? ›

Animal-free circuses have all the thrills, chills, and fun that you expect at the big top—but none of the cruelty to animals.
...
Other notable animal-free circuses include:
  • Cirque Plume.
  • Flying High Circus.
  • Imperial Circus.
  • Les Colporteurs.
  • New Shanghai Circus.
  • The 7 Fingers.
  • Swamp Circus.

Why doesn't Cirque du Soleil use animals? ›

The absence of animal acts in Cirque was a matter of artistic preference. In the early 1980s, Canada had no real circus tradition to speak of. Sure, traveling circuses with animal acts crisscrossed the country, but they were American-owned. Our troupe consisted of street performers, not traditional circus artists.

How did the Cirque performer dies? ›

In 2018, Yann Arnaud died after suffering injuries from a fall during the "Volta" show.

How do I join Cirque du Soleil? ›

To become a performing artist in a show applicants must submit a videocassette or DVD of them demonstrating their special talent, or take part in one of the many auditions held around the world all year round. For more information about being cast in a Cirque du Soleil show, visit the Casting section of our website.

What is the newest Cirque du Soleil show? ›

With nearly four decades at the forefront of groundbreaking entertainment, Cirque du Soleil will debut a completely new and wickedly fun Las Vegas production – Mad Apple – at New York-New York Hotel & Casino on May 26, 2022.

How do you become a Cirque du Soleil dancer? ›

Required qualifications & skills:
  1. Professional circus arts training (or equivalent level if self-taught);
  2. Onstage experience;
  3. Very good physical fitness;
  4. Great quality of movement;
  5. Artistic mastery and precision of execution;
  6. Ability to work as part of a team;
  7. Aged 18 or older.

Is it worth it to see Cirque du Soleil? ›

It is definitely worth seeing the show. It's very unique and not something you can see elsewhere in the world with it's water stage. You don't need the most expensive seats for the show. If you go for Limited View seats, as long as you don't take the ones in row O, then you actually will see just fine.

How is Cirque du Soleil different from a traditional circus? ›

The lasting allure of the traditional circus came down to only three key factors: the tent, the clowns, and the classic acrobatic acts such as the wheelman and short stunts. So Cirque du Soleil kept the clowns but shifted their humor from slapstick to a more enchanting, sophisticated style.

Which Cirque du Soleil show is the best? ›

Mystere has a reputation for being the best among the top Cirque shows. This Cirque du Soleil performance takes you into the depths of the imagination. It fills your world with vibrant colors, jaw-dropping acrobatics, and not-so-usual interpretations of circus acts.

Is Cirque du Soleil the best circus? ›

Cirque du Soleil - probably the best circus in the world, shares some of its amazing performances online. Cirque du Soleil - probably the best circus in the world, shares some of its amazing performances online.

How much do Cirque performers get paid? ›

Most performers make between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. Other Cirque employees are paid per show or hourly – it all depends on the job. Employees are offered shared accommodations at the Cirque Studios or traveling accommodations while on tour.

Is O or Mystere better? ›

O is our favorite cirque show, has the most "wow" moments, but I would only suggest O over Mystere if you pay for the better seats, the O theater is the only cirque show that I firmly believe seating matters. Mystere is the best value cirque show, and also has awesome acrobatics.

Is Ka or Mystere better? ›

We loved both, but I would recommend Mystere for your first Cirque show. It's more prototypical CDS. Also, I think the less expensive seats (which I'm assuming are those offered on special) would work better at Mystere than at Ka. Mystere has more going on from every different angle.

Why doesn't Cirque du Soleil use animals? ›

The absence of animal acts in Cirque was a matter of artistic preference. In the early 1980s, Canada had no real circus tradition to speak of. Sure, traveling circuses with animal acts crisscrossed the country, but they were American-owned. Our troupe consisted of street performers, not traditional circus artists.

What strategy does Cirque du Soleil use? ›

Cirque du Soleil succeeded because it realized that to win in the future, companies must stop competing in red oceans. Instead they should create blue oceans of uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant. An in-depth case study on Cirque du Soleil's blue ocean strategic move can be accessed here.

Is Cirque du Soleil kid friendly? ›

Is Corteo appropriate for children? Like most of Cirque du Soleil's shows, Corteo is meant to entertain the whole family.

What is the most expensive Cirque du Soleil show? ›

The Cirque du Soleil show called opened in 2005 at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, as the most expensive theatrical production in history.

Why is zumanity closing? ›

Cirque Du Soleil's 'Zumanity' Permanently Closing Due to COVID-19.

What are the three most famous Cirque du Soleil shows? ›

The Best Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil Shows
  • Mystère at Treasure Island. Click here for tickets. ...
  • “O” by Cirque du Soleil at Bellagio. Click here for tickets. ...
  • Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay. Click here for tickets.

Which Cirque du Soleil show has water? ›

O is a water-themed stage production by Cirque du Soleil, a Canadian circus and entertainment company. The show has been in permanent residence at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, since October 1998.

How long does Cirque du Soleil last? ›

Approximate show running time is 2 hours 10 minutes, including a 25 minute interval.

Videos

1. Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil | Official Preview of the show
(Cirque du Soleil)
2. Cirque du Soleil: Kurios
(The Late Late Show with James Corden)
3. BEST OF JUGGLING | Cirque du Soleil | AMALUNA, TOTEM, KOOZA AND MORE…
(Cirque du Soleil)
4. 100 BEST FEMALE ACT PERFORMERS by Cirque du Soleil
(Cirque du Soleil)
5. Danila Bim (America's Got Talent) Then & Now (2021) Images...
(Facts with Usama Khan)
6. YOGA WITH A TWIST! | YOGA EP4 | CIRQUE ME OUT | Cirque du Soleil
(Cirque du Soleil)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated: 01/01/2023

Views: 5237

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (46 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.