High-Tech Circus

High tech companies, Montreal is the place.

High-Tech Circus sounds like an oxymoron. The word ‘circus’ conjures up the smell of sawdust, fearless lion tamers, juggling seals and ponderous elephants Such circuses are rarely seen now. However Montreal is one of the high-tech centres of North America. Chalk up another high-tech industry for which Montreal is world famous.

Credit must go to the National Circus School founded in 1981 by actor and circus artist Guy Caron and top gymnast Pierre Leclerc. It quickly grew into a truly international institution. By 1991 the School was qualified to offer both artistic and academic programs, and 4 years later instituted the Diploma of Collegial Studies in the Circus Arts. In 2003, the NCS found a new home in Montreal: spacious, custom-constructed quarters in the heart of Tohu, the Cit? des arts du cirque.

Since its inception, the School has trained more than 200 circus artists who now pursue careers throughout the world. National Circus School students have earned over 40 awards from their participation in prestigious international festivals from Paris, France and Tournai, Belgium, to Wuqiao, China. A pioneer in the renaissance of the circus arts in Canada and North America, the School has directly contributed to the emergence of such companies as the Cirque du Soleil and Cirque ?loize.

That name, Cirque du Soleil, was perhaps the name that came to mind when you read the title. Many millions of people around the world have seen a performance of Le Cirque du Soleil. A new touring show, Corteo, premiered this week. It joins 5 other touring shows playing in various parts of the world. There are also 4 shows in Las Vegas, another in Orlando Florida, and another will start in Tokyo in 2008. The vision of this company is perhaps best expressed in the words of the founder, Guy Lalibert?:

Cirque du Soleil began with a very simple dream. A group of young entertainers got together to amuse audiences, see the world, and have fun doing it. Every year, the audiences get bigger, we continue to discover new places and ideas and we’re still having fun.

Today we still dream of enriching the lives of all those who cross our path through our actions and our creativity. We also dream of imbuing our new projects with the energy and inspiration that are the essence of our shows. And we want to help young people express their dreams ? and make them come true.

High-Tech Circus, that’s certainly no oxymoron.

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