Joining the Circus – Cirque du Soleil
Some people, such as miners, work underground. Most other people work above ground in buildings like schools, offices, and hospitals. One group of people, however, works on the ground and in the air, quickly moving from one to another. Can you think of what that job is? Acrobats are known for their skills in flying through the air and for performing great feats of balance and flexibility. Acrobats work as street performers and in circuses around the world, including the famous Cirque du Soleil.
Becoming an acrobat starts early. The physical ability to bend over backwards or to jump high into the air can take years to develop. Joining a gymnastics club or practicing with friends is a good way to learn the skills necessary to become an acrobat. Many people also attend lessons at the National Circus School in Montreal, Quebec, where they learn how to jump, bend, and do many other tricks. Montreal is also the home of the Cirque du Soleil, one of the world’s most famous circuses.
The Cirque du Soleil started in 1984 in Montreal with two street acrobats. Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix were trying to earn a living by performing their acrobatic feats on the streets and at special occasions. However, making enough money was difficult, and they decided to join together with other acrobats to start a circus. The group called itself the Cirque du Soleil.
The Cirque du Soleil is famous for being unlike any other circus. Each Cirque du Soleil performance tells a story instead of having a series of acts like other circuses. Over 1300 performers and another 3700 employees work in the Cirque du Soleil around the world. Some of them help prepare for performances or help with some of the other tasks like selling tickets. Every job helps to make the circus experience good for performers and the audience.
Being in a circus can involve a lot of travel with mostly evening and weekend work. Salaries vary, but they are usually between $40,000 and $70,000 per year. Experience and special skills can help performers rise to the higher income level. Even at the lower levels, however, this money can go far. During the months when people are on the job, they receive free food and a place to stay. Being part of a regular circus troupe like the Cirque du Soleil can be a very career for people with the right skills.
Not all acrobats work in a circus. Some prefer to be street performers, making a living by setting up their acts as part of outdoor festivals. This type of work gives acrobats a lot of freedom to test and try to improve their skills, at least when the weather is warm and dry enough to work. Street performance is a good way to start if you think that a career as an acrobat is right for you. Eventually, you might be able to show your skills by performing in some of the world’s greatest circuses.