Cirque du Soleil's "Saltimbanco"

January 6, 2009 10:08:12 AM PST
Cirque du Soleil is making a stop in the northwest suburbs, weaving its magic in Hoffman Estates for the first time with Saltimbanco. The Cirque du Soleil classic will be presented at The Sears Centre Arena from January 21-February 1.

The world premiere of Saltimbanco was held in Montreal on April 23, 1992 and featured a cast of 36 performers. During its 14-year tour under the big top, the show visited 75 cities on five continents, for a total of more than 4,000 performances before a combined audience of 10 million people. In 2007, Saltimbanco embarked on the current tour of over 40 arenas across Canada and the United States.

Saltimbanco?from the Italian "saltare in banco," which literally means "to jump on a bench"?explores the urban experience in all its myriad forms: the people who live there, their idiosyncrasies and likenesses, families and groups, the hustle and bustle of the street and the towering heights of skyscrapers. Between whirlwind and lull, prowess and poetry, Saltimbanco takes spectators on an allegorical and acrobatic journey into the heart of the city.

Saltimbanco is a signature Cirque du Soleil show with a style that borrows from theatre, dance and music. With spectacular costumes, lighting and make-up, the show includes 49 artists from Canada and 20 other countries; 15 of the performers were part of the show's original big-top tour.

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has almost 4,000 employees from over 40 different countries, including more than a 1,000 artists.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to close to 80 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents. In 2008, Cirque du Soleil will present 17 shows simultaneously throughout the world. The company has received such prestigious awards as the Emmy, Drama Desk, Bambi, ACE, Gémeaux, Félix, and Rose d'Or de Montreux. Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.

For tickets and more information, visit or call 312-559-1212. Tickets range from $40 to $95 for adult and $32 to $76 for children (12 years old & under).

More information on Cirque du Soleil is available at

ABOUT CARMEN RUEST ? Creative Director for Cirque du Soleil

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 including acrobatics, trapeze and tight rope - and honed her skills as a stilt walker. In the early 1980s, she met Gilles Ste-Croix and became his stilt walking 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 performing as a stilt walker and 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, scouting 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 stilt walking coach on Alegría (Touring Show) and Mystère (Permanent show in Las Vegas, NV), she was the creative and artistic coordinator on La Nouba (Permanent show in Orlando, FL) and became later the assistant to the casting director, where she saw the casting department grow from 5 to over 30 people. In 2005 she accepted the new challenges of becoming the director of creative for DELIRIUM (A Cirque du Soleil live music event touring in arenas).

Since 2006, Carmen took on the position of creative director for Saltimbanco (North American arena tour). "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 shines through brightly in the end."

Carmen Ruest was born in Rimouski, Quebec.

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