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Canadian kids are running away to the circus: Cirque du Soleil.

Audrey Brisson-Jutras is a 13-year-old girl from Montreal who performs under the Big Top five times a week as the MAIN PERFORMER in Cirque du Soleil's show called Quidam.

Because the show is currently in Chicago (U.S.A), Audrey lives there with a guardian while her parents live in Montreal. She didn't exactly run away to the circus because her parents agreed to her going, but she basically stopped living with them when she was 10 1/2! On average, she sees her Dad every six weeks and her Mom every three months. Next year she'll see even less of them because she's going to Europe with Cirque du Soleil for four years!

Although Audrey doesn't perform traditional circus tricks in Quidam because she has a singing role (nine solos a night), she's interested in learning some. "Back stage, I'm training for an act - the hoop. It's for my own pleasure but when we're in Europe I might be back-up for this act," she tells kidsworld.

Cirque du Soleil

(in French: cirque = circus, soleil = sun)

Cirque du Soleil creates unique circus shows - special kinds of shows that have never been seen before. They mix circus skills (no animals) with incredible special effects, costumes, sets, music and lighting. The result - something fantastic, beautiful and eerie all at the same time. The new "O" show in Las Vegas (U.S.A.) will take place entirely in a giant aquarium! It's not a traditional circus for kids. Adults go by themselves, but of course kids love to go too. Tickets for children for the Saltimbanco show in Ottawa this October cost $20-35. If you go to Walt Disney World in Florida (U.S.A.) in 1999, you may notice that Cirque du Soleil has a permanent show there. The tickets for kids are $45.20 U.S.!

Cirque du Soleil is a good example of a Canadian success story. It all started in Montreal just 13 years ago. The shows are created in Montreal and then tour the world. Seventeen million people have now seen the Cirque's shows in cities like New York (U.S.A.), Paris (France), Tokyo (Japan) and London (England).

Julia

on the hoop at circus comp

"My favourite part is the big show because you get to show the parents the tricks you are doing."

Katrina

at Club Med Ixtapa

Katrina lives in Edmonton, Alberta and so far there are no circus schools, camps or lessons there. So, she's always bugging her parents to take the family on holiday to the Club Med holiday resorts where there are special programs for kids that include circus.

So far Katrina says she's been successful because she's joined the circus school in Eleuthera (in the Bahamas) once and in lxtapa (in Mexico) three times. "Every second year we try to come here. We really like it because there's lots to do and I love the circus."

Every day of her holiday Katrina spends half-an-hour working with a circus instructor to prepare for the show at the end of week when everyone comes to watch.

Other years, Katrina has performed on the double trapeze, the single trapeze and the bicycle, but this year she's doing the Spanish Web. "It's a rope with a hook. You put your hand in the hook and do positions. There's no safety harness, but there are special loops so it's really hard to fall," she explains. "The best moment is when I do the scariest thing. I also like the end because then you're done and you're not going to do anything wrong."

Eli on the trapeze

at circus camp

"It's my favourite thing out of all the things at circus camp. It feels good, you feel quite high up. It's not scary, it's fun! l've also done tightrope, ladder, the hoop, trampoline, stilts and the German Wheel."

Jesse

performing a three-man high at circus camp

Jesse stands on the shoulders of two circus instructors, a trick he will perform at the show for parents. "They picked me because I did it right," he says. These kids are having fun at Habourfront Centre's summer circus camp in Toronto. Here's a list of the well-known circus schools in Canada. Circus is becoming really popular with kids, so ask your gym teacher if there are classes near you, or find out if your local gymnastics club will set some up.

Circus Schools for Canadian Kids

Main Space School of Circus Arts (Toronto) offers classes year-round and circus camps in summer and March break at Harbourfront Centre.

L'Ecole Nationale de Cirque (National Circus School in Montreal) Adults train here and many go on to perform with Cirque du Soleil, but they also have classes for kids aged nine and up and a program for all your high school education.

L'Ecole de Cirque de Verdun (near Montreal)

L'Ecole de Cirque de Quebec (in Quebec City)

Cirkids (Vancouver)

Nari

at flying trapeze camp

"Last year I went to circus camp and this is my first time at flying trapeze camp. Th first time I was up there it was scary. I haven't fallen, but I have done things wrong. Once you learn to do it right, then you don't feel nervous."
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Publication:Kidsworld Magazine
Date:Sep 22, 1998
Words:869
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