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Cirque du Soleil: The Spark - Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives within Us All Hardcover – April 11, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (April 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385516517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385516518
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #456,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For anyone who has ever marveled at the creativity, athleticism and magic of Cirque du Soleil, this book is a jewel that explores the showmanship, challenges and philosophies that have made Cirque an international sensation. Using a fictional narrative, Heward (former president and COO of Cirque's creative content division) and journalist Bacon follow a sports agent named Frank as he seeks the drive and enthusiasm that have faded from his career. Through a chance encounter while in Las Vegas, Frank sees a Cirque du Soleil performance and is enchanted. Before long Frank takes a leave of absence from his job and starts training with Cirque athletes in Montreal while giving the reader a behind-the-scenes look at how the Cirque sensation is created and the underlying philosophy. He gleans lessons on the value of working for a common goal, creating a meaningful experience for customers, using failure as a learning tool and how to reinvent oneself to find life's true path. While the scenarios that Frank encounters often seem too convenient, the book is captivating and offers important lessons that can be applied to many aspects of modern life. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"An inspiring tale about the power of creativity and the imagination, from Cirque du Soleil, the amazing troupe of performers that “makes nearly every other form of entertainment seem timid, sullen, earthbound.”
Time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

A very easy and entertaining book to read that left me inspired, motivated and challenged.
L. M. Messianu
Good thing for Cirque's bottom line that they make their money in performance art, and not expository writing.
Karen Tiede
It made me to evaluate what I has been doing and what can I do different to keep enjoying the job I love!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While this book had some minor flaws (I'll discuss those briefly later), it is worth owning, especially since it is one of the few books to truly discuss the creative process of Cirque Du Soleil and how the rest of us can learn from what the performers do every day- the type of risks they take in hopes of creating magic, the beauty and spiritual resonance of their performances.

There is another book out there that explores one man's experiences with one performer and it is also intriquing but this new book reveals more about a wider variety of artists, directors, designers, etc.

And, for all those who've watched and been entranced by a Cirque du Soleil performance...wouldn't we all like to create a little of that magic in our lives? Wouldn't we all like to ignite our own creative fires, even if they come out in different ways, perhaps in writing, perhaps in our work lives or the time we spend with our families or while alone.

One of the main lessons I got from this book is that being fully open as possible to one's imagination, hopes, dreams and aspirations can lead in wondrous directions and affect even the most "practical" or mundane tasks of life. It just takes the willingness to take the risk, to accept failure and setbacks in return for spiritual and emotional growth and lifechanging experiences.

This is more than a book geared to artists and peformers. It truly is for the rest of us. It can change your life.

Having said that, I found myself wanting more, felt myself not quite fully satisfied by this book. I felt some of the sections were a little too pat or formulaic. But these are minor quibbles when the book offers so much and is one of the few books that really explores the Cirque du Soleil creative process. Until a better one comes along, I'd consider this a MUST for anyone wanting to know more about the secrets and techniques of the Cirque du Soleil "spark", a spark that can affect us all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Our first idea was almost never our last. Ideas evolved and combined with others, until they became more original, more creative. And when we were done, you really couldn't say whose idea it was. It didn't matter!" pg 44

At first... the creators (of Cirque) studied other circuses (only)... Later... over time... everyone at Cirque was drawing upon as many outside influences as possible, from almost every field - painting, film, music, you name it. This sort of cross-pollination...was the keys to Cirque's extraordinary freshness and vitality. Pg 45

In this business - in all businesses - your people will rarely work harder than the boss. That's why my first decision was to be at every show. If they had to be there, I did too." A Cirque artistic director pg 47

If you don't understand the role you play, how can you be excited about what you're doing? (concerning everyone at Cirque - from the dancers to the cooks to the lawyers - being "on the same page" as to what is the purpose, goals, the reason of being of Cirque) Pg 49

It's amazing how much we fear the unknown - even when the unknown carries with it the possibility of success. Pg 64

"If you're not happy, you can always do something else. You are never trapped in life. When you realize that, you find you're free to accomplish incredible things!" pg 79

So many people I met at Cirque, it seemed, had the urge to reinvent themselves, to try new things on their own, without any assurance that their efforts would lead to anything. Pg 82

A lot of what we do is simply hard work. If you wait for your muse to arrive to give you inspiration, you can wait all day and have nothing to show for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marcia L Smith on April 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was so very inspiring! I already adore Cirque, so to have someone that was not familiar with it to go there and start getting involved, was magical.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Kephart on June 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book at my library and as I read through it, found myself excited and inspired - at first. Then doubts began to creep in. Why was the narrator addressed as Frank (this was supposedly a first-person account by a sports agent named Frank Castle) when, on the book's cover it says "Created by Lyn Heward and written by John U. Bacon"? According to the inside-back cover of the dust jacket, Heward is "the former President and COO of Cirque du Soleil's Creative Content Division and is currently acting as executive producer for a variety of special projects." Bacon, is (same dust jacket inside-back cover) a veteran journalist and public speaker who's "won numerous writing awards and is the author of three books." Apparently this is his experience. But because this book chooses to give him a phony name, from here on in "Frank Castle" will be in quotation marks for your protection.

In The Spark, "Frank Castle," is in Las Vegas for a convention. Seeking a moment of relief he wanders out into the casino and sees two men enter an unmarked white door. As if in a daze, "Frank Castle" decides to follow them. He enters the white door which leads into a white hallway with another white door. Which leads to another white door. Which leads to yet another white door. You get the idea. After seven white doors, "Frank Castle" finds himself in a theatre that's preparing a Cirque du Soleil show. He's approached by a woman named Diane McKee, who doesn't kick out this intruder. Instead she talks with "Frank Castle," getting him to reveal his current unhappiness with his career.
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