In the Wings… Yet Another Cirque Book

Recently we alerted you to a book soon to be available from Harry N. Abrams, the publishers of the 2003 and 2004 Cirque Calendars and other Cirque books, entitled “The Unexpected Odyssey: 20 Years of Cirque du Soleil” by Tony Babinski; however, according to an article recently published in the Montreal Gazette, fans should prepare for another book about Cirque’s anniversary: “Dans les coulissese du Cirque du Soleil”, or “Backstage at the Cirque du Soleil”.

This book, authored by Canadian Jean Beaunoyer, is an unauthorized biography of our favorite circus. Beaunoyer is known for writing unauthorized biographies of Canadian artists such as Celine Dion, but his choice to bio Cirque du Soleil proved far tougher, he disclosed recently in an interview with Pan Donnely of the Montreal Gazette. The book attemps to discern who contributed what during Cirque’s initial steps.

“It was like doing 25 biographies at once,” said Beaunoyer, but that’s not all his book reveals. We learn where Gilles St Croix studied (at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia) and learned his stilt-walking skills (the Bread and Puppet Theater of Vermont). St. Croix is credited with founding “Le Club de Talon Hauts”, fore runner of Cirque du Soleil. “Three other key ‘parents’ of the Cirque, Guy Caron, Rodrigue Tremblay (clown name: Chocolat) and Sonia Côté (Chatouille, another clown) had gained formal circus training in Hungary during the 1970s. Caron went on to found the École National du Cirque.”

Further information can be gained by a translation of the book’s back

Jean Beaunoyer traces the portrait of an exceptional Québec
enterprise and those who built it from the its humble
beginnings to its international success today. He is
particularly interested with Guy Laliberté, the head of Cirque
du Soleil. Flamboyant and controversial, as implacable as he
is seductive, from the beginning Laliberté was, above all, a
manager who knew how to surround himself with collaborators
capable of moving his circus to the highest summits. A
visionary, he allied himself with street entertainers,
politicians such as [former Québec premiere] René Lévesque,
prolific creators such as Franco Dragone, René Dupéré, Gilles
Ste-Croix, Guy Caron, distinguished managers such as Daniel
Gauthier and Normand Latourelle, theatre directors such as
Robert Lepage, Dominic Champagne and René Richard Cyr and
Olympic athletes including André Simard, Sylvie Fréchette and
Philippe Chartrand.

Behind the explosive success there were also dark patches,
internal crises and break-ups. Thanks to the confidence of
several figures from these troubled periods, Jean Beaunoyer
recounts what the company has, to this day, preferred to
keep quiet to the public.

About the author:

Jean Beaunoyer is a journalist from [the Montreal newspaper]
La Presse and in the past 20 years has written several
biographies. He wrote books about race car drivers the
Villeneuves (father and son), as well as an unauthorized
biography of Celine Dion. Far from being complacent, his
telling of the Cirque du Soleil story conveys the company’s
risks as well as its successes.

It is unknown how this new book will be viewed by the higher-ups at Cirque du Soleil, but one thing is certain, Cirque has kept their sordid past under tight wraps, and now we may finally get the first look into the real history of Cirque du Soleil.

A French-language edition of “Dans les coulisses du Cirque du Soleil” (ISBN: 2-7644-0242-2 — 224 pages), published by Québec-Amérique, is currently available at $19.95 CDN. An English language version is due Autumn 2004.