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Cirque du Soleil

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries. Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents.

 
 
 

Biography

André Simard

Acrobatic Performance Designer
CRISS ANGEL Believe, KOOZA, Varekai
Aerial Acrobatics Designer and Head Coach– Creation

André Simard has been working with Cirque du Soleil since 1987. That year, he created a swinging trapeze act for the show Nouvelle Expérience, sparking a genuine revolution in high-flying aerial movement. Under his direction, the acrobatic feats performed by artists in motion somewhere between Earth and sky, either in a theatre or under a big top, achieved the fluidity of ballet. Between 1989 and 2000, 13 of the acts he created for Cirque du Soleil, the National Circus School and his own company of artists, Studio de création les gens d'R, garnered accolades in festivals attended by the finest circus artists from all over the world.

The new circus arts are indebted to Simard for his creation of the discipline of aerial silk acrobatics in 1995. Another example of technological and choreographic innovation, stemming from his collaboration with acrobatic apparatus designer Jaque Paquin, was the Boat act in "O". As well, Simard has designed most of the aerial acts in the shows that Cirque performs around the world.

For over 30 years, André Simard has succeeded in striking a harmonious balance between his three areas of expertise: the fine arts, elite sports, and the circus. In the early 1970s, he was a member of Canada's national gymnastics team while a student at the Institut des arts graphiques de Montréal. In addition, while preparing to compete in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, he trained clowns and other public entertainers at the Centre Immaculée-Conception in Montréal, a forerunner of the National Circus School. In his own words, he is "constantly trying to meld the rules of biomechanics, as applied to athletic training, with the evocative power of the performing arts." This approach has also infused his teaching at the National Circus School, as well as at the Centre national des arts du cirque de Châlons-sur-Marne and the École nationale de Cirque de Rosny-sous-Bois, both in France.

In 1995 he founded the Studio de création les gens d'R in Montréal, an artistic endeavor that affords him the opportunity to push the envelope of emotional expression through aerial movement. In 2001 this troupe gave the world premiere performance of Échos in Venice. The show was commissioned by the organizers of that city's celebrated Biennale arts festival.

"For CRISS ANGEL Believe, I’ve come up with a way for the dervish characters to spin by hiding ropes inside their costumes," he says. "I've also introduced acrobatic elements into the stilt walkers’ dance numbers, and I’ve devised a motorized acrobatic mechanism for the character of Kayala: When she emerges from her flower to do her hoop routine, she grabs hold of the petals, which in reality are made out of transparent flexible PVC tubes built into her costume."

André Simard was born in 1945 in Montreal.