The circus has entertained people for centuries. Its origins lie in Roman times, where animals and theatre were used to entertain the populous. Following the demise of the Roman Empire however, there was a lack of circus type entertainment in Europe. The animal rich antics were taken up again by various travelling performers and gypsies throughout Europe, whilst the development of an acrobatic based circus was already well underway in China.
Traditionally, various circuses would focus on a main theme, such as trained animals, slapstick clowns or acrobats and daredevils. As the circus became a less popular form of entertainment, Circus troupes decided that they would have to merge to survive, bringing a new type of eclectic experience to draw in the audience. Drawing upon influences from entertainment around the world, a new breed of entertainment was formed, taking on stylized and choreographed theatrical tones.
In contemporary terms, the circus is a mix of acrobatic entertainment such as trapeze artists, animal entertainment using trained horses and bizarre entertainment, focussing on the skills of sword swallowers and fire eaters. This type of entertainment can be linked back to the curiosity of the side shows and freak shows that used to travel with a main circus troupe. Animals within the circus though are becoming increasingly rare. The modern day circus, once an arena for the exotic, is no longer about tamed lions and elephants that beg like a dog. The reasons for this are from allegations of animal cruelty in the keeping and training of such animals. The effect on public opinion was massive, and after a terrible tragedy involving a runaway elephant that had mauled it's keeper, the public no longer approved of animal inclusion in their circus entertainment.
Instead, entertainment that involved acrobatics and dangerous events became the taste of the day. Jousting on motorbikes with chainsaws had the power to deliver as much of an adrenalin rush and as ringmaster putting his head into a lions mouth. The power to shock has always been a winning formula, but so have theatrics and traditional skills that can be found throughout the history of the circus. A modern day entertainment troupe is likely to be presenting a performance with a story, as can be seen in the modern day marvel of the Cirque Du Soleil, which translates as Circus of the Sun.
The troupe found it's beginnings in Canada in the early 1980s with a show that was such a huge success, the founders decided to tour. The abolition of a traditional ring and the decision to not have animals in the performances gained this circus incarnation a reputation for being a truly modern incarnation. Drawing upon traditional circus skills and acts from across the world enable Cirque Du Soleil to translate complex stories through performance. The lack of curtains draws the audience in to the story, and creates a paradigm unbeatable in a traditional theatre or circus.
This type of event has a huge following from lovers of cabaret and the theatre; performing arts and traditional circus. The productions are suitable for family entertainment and are hugely popular in the corporate entertainment industry. With such spectacular and entertaining shows that tour the world and with a practising troupe numbering over three thousand, there is a wealth of talent and entertainment at their disposal. Aerial acrobatics combined with stunning set design, great lighting and fabulous costumes provide a setting that you'll remember for a lifetime. There is no doubt that this is one troupe that will bring back the essence of top quality entertainment.