Cirque du Soleil bound for National Harbor


Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian circus known for its elaborate acrobatics, will bring its show to National Harbor beginning October 30, officials say.
The show will stay for several weeks, but details are still being worked out, including where in the 300-acre mixed-use development the circus will perform.
Cirque du Soleil is a major circus based in Quebec, Montreal which has provided artistic entertainment to about 80 million spectators since its founding in 1984 by a group of 20 street performers. This year, Cirque plans to run about 18 shows running simultaneously.
With 4,000 employees, including 1,000 artists from 40 countries, the show could provide some high-energy sparkle to the Peterson Cos. complex along the Potomac. “Our mission is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world,” said a Cirque du Soleil spokesperson.
The circus started in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City, in Canada. There in early eighties a band of colorful characters roamed the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire and playong music. The townsfolk were impressed and intrigued by the young performers, who included Guy Laliberte who became founder of Cirque du Soleil — and a billionaire in the process.
The troupe went on to found Le Club les Talons Hauts (the High Heels Club), and then in 1982, organized La Fete Foraine de Baie Saint Paul, a cultural event in which street performers from all over met to exchange ideas and enliven the streets for a few days at a time. La Fete Foraine was repeated in 1983, and in 1984 Laliberte and his cronies created a traveling circus to take the troupe around the world. They have since visited over 200 cities around the world.
Today, Cirque employees represent 40 nationalities and speak 25 languages. Since 1992, the show has been self-sustaining, receiving no grants from the public or private sectors.