Cirque du Soleil "O"
In only five and a half years, Cirque du Soleil “O” has become the most successful forum of live entertainment in the world performing in, on and above the water. Created as a continuous visual montage, “O” combines the best of circus arts, acrobatics, synchronized swimming, high diving and more to create a ground-breaking experience in a magnificent theatre reminiscent of a European opera house.
It all began when Cirque du Soleil was formed in 1984 by a troupe of street performers called the “Club des talons hauts” (the high-heels club), headed by Guy Laliberté, a 23-year-old fire breather. From 1982 to 1984, the group organized the “Fête Foraine” entertainers’ festival in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City in Canada. It was the first festival to bring together street performers from around the world. These young performers captured the attention of audiences and media alike. In 1984, the group received a one million dollar grant from the Quebec government to create a show in celebration of the 450th anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s discovery of Canada…Cirque du Soleil was born! In 1987, Cirque du Soleil took its show to the Los Angeles Festival and was met with a thunderous ovation, opening the show to the international community.
Cirque du Soleil was based on a totally new concept: a striking, dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment, featuring wild, outrageous costumes, staged under magical lighting and set to original music. Since 1984, Cirque has grown from one show in Quebec to five touring shows in North America, Europe and Asia and four resident shows in the United States in 2004.
Cirque du Soleil’s touring shows include Varekai (North American tour), Dralion (European tour), Quidam (Asia-Pacific tour), Alegra (North American tour), and Saltimbanco (European tour). Resident shows include Mystère at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, La Nouba at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Zumanity, Another Side of Cirque du Soleil at New York-New York in Las Vegas, and “O” at Bellagio in Las Vegas.
In 20 years, over 40 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show. In 1984, 73 people worked for the company. Today, Cirque du Soleil has expanded to 2,700 employees worldwide, including more than 600 artists, representing over 40 nationalities speaking 25 different languages.
Cirque du Soleil created an entirely original form of live entertainment with “O”, which premiered in 1998 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. “O”, phonetically speaking, is the French word for water (spelled “eau”). With an international cast of 85 artists, the show is performed in, on and above the water. Directed by Franco Dragone, the show is inspired by the concept of infinity and the elegance of its pure form. This venture into aquatic theatre has been seen by nearly four million spectators and has earned the acclaim of journalists from around the world.
Recipients of the Gold Medallion Award.