Collecting Cirque du Soleil's History

Saltimbanco, Old Port of Montreal, 1992. That’s where it all began.

I was young back then, very young indeed. My memories are fuzzier now, but I clearly remember being in my stroller, in front of the imposing blue and yellow Big Top. I was four years old—you’ll have to forgive me!

My mother later shared with me the rest of that first experience. What better than a little Cirque du Soleil story during a family dinner? She laughs and says that on the way home from the show, I twirled the cords of my coat to imitate the boleadoras number I’d just seen.

We went back to the Old Port almost every year.

It became my springtime tradition, my favorite thing to look forward to (and I still do, even at 35!). I can just picture my mom sitting in a chair by the kitchen phone, handset to her ear, calling the Cirque box office to buy our tickets for their latest creation. The excitement that came with that famous call was the harbinger of a great passion that would continue to grow over the years. 

Few people know that in my early teens, I would produce my own circus shows for my family. Some stuffed animals were the acrobats, while others took on the role of singers or even technicians. I hung sheets from the basement ceiling to create a backstage area. It was serious stuff, with a trapeze, a tightrope and a teeterboard. I even created programs and tickets that I printed and handed out to my family members. My brother kindly contributed by filming the show with the school camcorder, for posterity’s sake! It was quite a production, believe me!

In case you’re wondering, yes, there’s still evidence of these many performances in my parents’ basement. And no, you won’t be seeing those VHS recordings!

Speaking of VHS tapes

I’ve always collected anything remotely related to Cirque du Soleil. I had in my possession a small collection of VHS tapes with the Quebec TV broadcasts of Saltimbanco, Quidam and Dralion. These tapes played on a loop in the VCR for years. I didn’t realize it, but they were the first items in my collection. Pretty sweet, you’ve got to admit! I’ve since acquired official VHS tapes of the shows I love, but I keep them in their original packaging to protect them.

I also treasured my show tickets, which I kept in a little envelope tucked away in my bedside table.

Precious souvenirs collected over the years

Sweaters, caps, posters, you name it. As I got older, I began to take an interest in rarer items, such as the famous denim jacket, straight out of the ’90s, with the Soleil embroidered on the back. It’s definitely my favorite collector’s item. I wear it often—even at the risk of damaging it—because I think life experience gives it a little je ne sais quoi.

Some of the items in my collection are much older, rarer and more fragile. I have a few official programs, coveted collectors’ items, dating back to 1986 and 1987. It’s fascinating to leaf through them and see how much Cirque du Soleil has changed since then. I should also mention the very chic Alegría fanny pack, perfect for carrying the essentials around.

I recently added several items from the latest show, Cirque du Soleil ECHO, to my collection: a hooded sweatshirt, a cloud-print pouch, a reusable bag and an ornament for my Christmas tree. I’m happy to say that my little collection of Cirque du Soleil items keeps growing.

I’m already burning with excitement to see what I’ll manage to find next. Who knows what special treasure that might be?

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