The circus that has made the impossible possible

  • 2011-12-07
  • By Sam Logger

THE BIG TOP: The circus comes to town as top performers prepare to show their magic.

RIGA - Outstanding performances, magnificence in every aspect of the show, may be in its sounds or movements. This describes the circus, its ability to catch an audience’s attention, sharpen its senses and have its eyes wide open in surprise. The leading artists of Cirque du Soleil for the first time ever come to the city of Riga to ignite hidden emotions.

The beginning of Cirque du Soleil is found back in Quebec, Canada, in 1984 when the accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-eater Guy Laliberte collected the talents of street performances from the Fete Foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul. Since then the company has grown bigger, and today it employs up to 5,000 people. Amongst them more than 1,300 artists from approximately 50 countries becoming a fantastic international and diverse art platform. Its success is measured in the responsiveness of the shows – artists have delighted millions of spectators in 300 cities on 5 continents, making the troupe the most popular circus in the world.

But what are they brining to the Baltic countries? The program “Saltimbanco” - the longest-running show in the troupe’s history – has been performed for 19 years now. The name of the program comes from ‘saltare in banco’ in Italian and means ‘jump on the bench.’ The show welcomes spectators in the magnificence of the metropolis and its inhabitants, an illusionary city which is full of colors, amusement and joy, outlined with the help of jumps and spins during the Chinese Poles or the Russian Swing, demonstrating unbelievable balance. Additionally, it showcases the traditional circus elements: jugglers, acrobats and clowns. Everything, supplemented with  amazing lights, music, humor, costumes and magic, proves the world class artistry, which is also praised by the media, where The London Times evaluates the ‘gracefully athletic theater,’ but The New York Times states it is where ‘myth meets magic.’

The program challenges the capabilities of the human body as all moves underline both the individual strength and mastery and teamwork and trust to portray symmetry and asymmetry. Thus, it actually makes the audience think that ‘impossible’ is a simple word which has found its place in the lexicon by mistake. It turns out that ‘the body’ is an instrument which reflects the depth of the plasticity, and it is the most obvious observation. There is also the steadiness of mind, which is crucial for acrobats and jugglers, as the professionalism comes with the understanding that you control what your hands and legs do.

Even more, it all is backed with mimics that make the spectators be inspired and tricked for a while, being sure that everything that is on the stage is easy. However, it is hardly easy, and this trick is possibly one of the reasons why the show is so successful. There is no feeling that artists appear in the arena to do their job. Instead, it is disguised as an enormous enjoyment to entertain everyone who has paid for ticket to see them. This is why it is felt that the stage is their preferred place to be, and the artists are one family where its members are the biggest treasure, and it somehow invites the audience to look closely at their relations.

Cirque du Soleil ensures the show is watched in one breath, fulfilled with astonishment and entertainment. No wonder the troupe is always awaited at the major casinos in Las Vegas, such as “Bellagio” and “The Mirage.”
“We are very proud and excited that after having presented its shows in over 300 cities, the world famous Cirque du Soleil will be performing in the Baltics for the first time. I saw ‘Saltimbanco’ back home in Ottawa and enjoyed it immensely. I am sure that the public will be equally impressed with the outstanding artistry, music and acrobatics. Cirque du Soleil has always been a proud ambassador of Canada in each city and country they have visited,” says Scott Heatherington, Ambassador of Canada in Latvia.

After all, this program is going to be a wonderful night for families as everyone can find something to cheer about in the show. Cirque du Soleil also performs in Vilnius from Dec.15 and in Tallinn from Dec. 28.

Ticket information can be found on