Cirque du Monde
A social circus program set in motion in 1995, Cirque du Monde is one of the greatest sources of pride for Cirque du Soleil. Since its creation, this program is now implanted in more than 80 communities throughout the world in partnership with many local community organizations recognized in their milieu for the quality of their work with young people.
What is Cirque du Monde?
Cirque du Monde is a social circus program created by Cirque du Soleil and Jeunesse du Monde, which targets at-risk youth. It combines circus techniques together with educational social intervention to help young people.
Social circus aims to help these young people get their self-confidence back, make them realize their strengths and discover their hidden talents. Cirque du Monde is offered by organizations working with at-risk youth.
Cirque du Monde does not claim to be a cure-all for the various social problems, but neither is it some vague pastime that only succeeds in distracting young people from their real situation. It wants to offer young participants, be they from Canada, Brazil, Mongolia or elsewhere, a springboard toward a new stage in their lives.
Who is involved in Cirque du Monde?
For the program to be successful, it takes:
- Community workers who know about the clientele to whom such a program should be offered. They work with the youth in their city, from their neighborhood. These are the local partners of Cirque du Monde.
- Social circus instructors who possess in-depth knowledge of the technical skills, safety rules and best teaching methods adapted to the context and the participants.
- Qualified trainers who work with the instructors and community workers to ensure that they all know the best practices, apply the same rules and achieve the same benefits.
- Cirque du Soleil coordinators who facilitate networking and help train the instructors and social workers, provide their support on special projects and work with partner organizations on ensuring the longevity of the program.
Who is Cirque du Monde for?
Social circus programs can benefit many types of clientele. For instance, in South Africa, it is used to motivate kids born with HIV to follow their treatments. In Mongolia, workshops were held in juvenile prisons. In Quebec, social circus was used as a truancy prevention tool and, in Australia, with women survivors of sexual violence.
True to the cause chosen by Cirque du Soleil, Cirque du Monde targets at-risk youth between the ages of 8 and 25. They usually come from low-income backgrounds, and many even live on the street.
What are the benefits for Cirque du Monde participants?
Circus arts call for teamwork and a combination of strengths and talents – and these are elements that can help young people develop a sense of belonging. They allow for freedom and creativity while demanding perseverance and discipline. The workshops offer young people a space to open up, express themselves and to create, while respecting their marginality, new bonds with a society that has often excluded them.