Carmen Ruest is one of a handful of kindred spirits Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté calls the pioneers-“the people who put their shoulders to the grindstone when we were starting out and made the dream a reality.”
Back in the 1970s in Montreal, Carmen Ruest was taking and giving dance classes during the winter and dancing on stilts as a street performer in the summer. During this period, she became versed in various circus arts techniques-including acrobatics, trapeze and tight rope-and honed her skills as a stiltwalker. In the early 1980s, she met Gilles Ste-Croix and became his stiltwalking partner. Ste-Croix, teaming up with Carmen Ruest and others, founded the Club des talons hauts (High Heels Club), which would become Cirque du Soleil in 1984 under Laliberté's leadership.
During her first ten years at Cirque du Soleil, Carmen Ruest spent her time either performing as a stiltwalker or assisting Gilles Ste-Croix in art direction. After a short stint away from Cirque as a production director and a costume designer, she came back to join Cirque's casting department, scouring the world for artistic talent. Since returning to her “roots” at Cirque du Soleil, Carmen Ruest has made great strides. In addition to her work as a stiltwalking coach on Alegría and Mystère, she became assistant to the casting director at Cirque, where she saw the casting department grow from 5 to over 30 people. In 1998-1999, she was creative and artistic coordinator on La Nouba.
When she was hired as director of creation for DELIRIUM in 2005, Carmen Ruest took on her job with great enthusiasm. “The challenge with DELIRIUM is to merge two worlds into one: circus arts and arena productions,” she says. “We want to bring Cirque du Soleil to new audiences. My role is to create a synergy between the creative team members and to make their job easier so that the vision of multimedia pioneers Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon (DELIRIUM's creators and directors) shines through brightly in the end.”
Carmen Ruest was born in Rimouski, Quebec.