Informing my family and friends of my intent to study circus generated understandable concern. Asking them to declare support for their MIT graduate relative should anything happen during his three years in Canada with no income generated even more concern. I did a bit of due diligence to try to put their minds at ease:
From Boston.com article on Ecole Nationale de Cirque graduate Molly Saudek:
“Annual salaries at Cirque du Soleil, according to a report in Macleans, a Canadian magazine, range from $30,000 for apprentices to “$250,000 for veterans who own creative rights to their acts.” At the Sarasota-based Royal Hanneford Circus, tent masters get $1,000 a week and star acts $2,000 to $3,500 a week, owner Tommy Hanneford said in 1997. But state subsidies for circuses – instituted by Soviet premier Vladimir Lenin, who created the Moscow Circus in the 1920s – are largely a thing of the past. Today, most circuses are private enterprises, Mermin says, and are as reluctant to reveal salaries as the artists are.”
I had no idea that circus artists could earn that much!
I also read about ENC graduate Marie-Josee Levesque who performs trapeze and tissus. She has also started up two circuses, her current one only does corpo shows for companies like Coca Cola, Adidas, etc.
Then there is the quartet of contortionists my age who have already been in the business for 15 years. Very successful and well known in the circus community for the quality of the art they produce. They no longer work together, but at least two of them are still in Cirque du Soleil. Three of my favorite acts in Cirque du Soleil are performed by these four women. One of them, Jinny Jacintho, also has a solo website.
Then there’s former lawyer and ENC graduate Lucy Morgan.
The school itself is also making big plans – basically, they are tripling the size of this school and making it into the largest facility devoted to the circus arts in the world. Evidently, only 1 third of the class is allowed to come from outside of Canada. This means that I will be in class with only 5 other foreigners… probably not many of them English speakers!
I also found an interesting theater program helped by a current student of the school. the paper is from an Inuit region of Canada. there are place names like “Kangiqsualujjuaq”, and news items like “This building will replace Satuumavik School, destroyed by the New Year’s Eve avalanche that tore through the school’s gymnasium and several classrooms. This damaged building is still considered to be at risk from avalanches.” seems like an interesting place to live. Wish I knew where it was.
PS In the meantime I am applying for sleep studies where they lock you in a room with no windows and wire you up for three days and spinal tap you! Also, soon I will have a picture of my brain!