How Cirque du Soleil Works


The Fast Track
The Fast Track
Photo courtesy Al Seib

Alegria, like all Cirque du Soleil shows, was conceived at Cirque's $60 million state-of-the-art international headquarters in Montreal. Here, a creative team including Cirque founder Guy Laliberte, directors, artistic directors, costume and set designers and choreographers gather to brainstorm concepts and ideas for new shows.

The first thing the team determines is the show's theme. The theme is a delicate balance, because it must tie the acts together without adding up to a narrative. The Cirque team avoids straight narrative in order to allow room for the audience to interpret the show any way they want.

Alegria's central themes are power and contrast. According to Pierre Parisien, artistic director for Alegria and a Cirque veteran, the creative team was inspired by a tragic event that occurred in London: "At the beginning of the '90s… two children killed another child. They were young, they were like 10 or 11 years old and they killed… just for the sake of it. That major incident had an effect on our set designer who brought this story up at the conceptual meeting. And everybody started to talk about it and that is where the idea about doing a story about power emerged."

Each Cirque show's theme is tied closely to the show's soundtrack. In the next section, we'll examine this part of the creative process.