As dancers in North Tyneside we are always looking for dance inspiration, new ideas and exciting performances to learn from. One of the most inspirational and well known dance, gymnastic and movement companies in the world is Cirque de Soleil. There new critically acclaimed show Varekai will be performed at the Metro Radio Arena in February so we thought we would take a look at the Circus of the Sun and why we love it!
Dance in Newcastle
The Cirque de Soleil is the most famous theatrical production company in the world and was formed back in 1984 by Guy Laliberte and Giles Ste-Croix. But what has made it so popular and led to it becoming the world’s largest theatrical production company? Why do we love Cirque de Soleil so much?
The whole thing started back in 1984 with Le Grand Tour de Cirque du Soleil when the two men received funding from the Canadian government as part of the 450th anniversary celebrations of the voyage of Jacques Cartier to the country. The tour was so popular that a second year’s funding was secured and the company began to transform into a proper circus but with a difference – there were no performing animals and the shows were character driven. This led to it being known as a contemporary circus or ‘nouveau cirque’.
Shows began to have their own central theme and storyline, using continuous live music and performers who changed the props as part of the show. The 1990s saw the creation of the Nouvelle Experience, directed by Franco Dragone which was a huge success and saw the company able to add more shows to its repertoire.
Cirque is now on every continent in the world apart from Antarctica and shows in over 270 countries, employing around 4,000 people and having an annual revenue said to be over $800 million. The permanent show in Las Vegas accounts for 5% of the city’s visitors alone.
Why we love Cirque du Soleil
One of the things that anyone who has seen the show or loves dance is drawn to with Cirque du Soleil is the innovation. That first innovation – a circus with no animals – was just the beginning of the ways they have changed theatrical productions.
Their avoidance of big name stars in favour of lesser known names is an example. A fully independent creative team is another example, allowing each person to bring out their own full creativity without anyone telling them what to do. The company holds an annual workshop where all the employees bring their ideas together while temporary artists and technology innovators often join for a time to add their ideas.
While artistry is the most important factor for the company, they are not afraid to use a data driven approach to their shows too. This includes using market research to see what their audience wants and ensure that they provide it. This in turn ensures that people want to come to their shows. They also have a database of the strengths and weaknesses of all their performers to ensure that everyone does what they are good at.
Finally, there’s the fact that the original creator, Guy Laliberte, is still the CEO of the company. As a former performed himself, Guy offers a great balance of the ruthlessness of a big boss and the understanding of an artist. This brings out the best in the people working for the company while attracting the best talent that therefore results in the most amazing shows.
A truly inspirational company that spreads its approach across the world including in the popularity of dance classes like Acrobatic Arts at Jade Harrison School of Dance in North Tyneside. For more information on a whole range of dance classes, acrobatic arts and musical theatre classes click here: http://www.jadeharrisonschoolofdance.co.uk/