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Cirque du Soleil

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Cirque du Soleil (French for “Circus of the Sun”) is an entertainment empire based in Montréal, Quebec, Canada and founded in Quebec in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier. It was an answer to a call by Commissariat général aux célébrations 1534-1984 of the Quebec Government for the 450th anniversary celebration of the discovery of Canada by French explorer Jacques Cartier (b 1491-d 1557). Gauthier, who left the company in 2001, now owns the ski area Le Massif, on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Cirque du Soleil is now “guided” by Guy Laliberté.

It has been described as the modern circus, and focuses upon a storyline as well as amazing performances. It has several resident and touring troupes and draws heavily from the circus tradition. Emphasizing the use of humans as performers, Cirque du Soleil does not make use of animals. Instead, its performances combine elements of street performances and busking, circus, opera, ballet, and rock music. Acts include contortionists, jugglers, feats of strength, clowning, and trapeze artists. Their costumes are very colorful and creative, setting a festive and lively atmosphere. Also, Cirque shows do not use pre-recorded music; all music is played live.

Cirque shows begin as a creative concept, usually with elements of a central story line, a design concept and the selection of a composer for the music. These elements remain relatively constant throughout the production run of a given show.

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