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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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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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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 (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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.
Read more ›
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on July 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After watching one of their performances, I wanted to read this book to find out more about Cirque du Soleil but this book left me frustrated.

I was lead to believe that this was a first person account of "Frank"'s life-changing experience with the Cirque du Soleil. The more you get into the book, the more it feels like a manuel of all the departments with a narrative to ease the transitions. It turns out that this is a fictional book.

This book would have worked as a behind-the-scenes special on how all the departments come together to make a performance or as a completely fictional story of someone reconnecting with their passion through getting a job at the Cirque du Soleil because it didn't work a faux nonfictional book.

I feel that the strength of Cirque du Soleil is visuals and this narrative didn't go justice to what they have actually accomplished. It would have been nice to see photos of the costumes, make-up, characters, training lessons and especially see a photo of a "German Wheel"? The book is less than 150 pages and can be read in less than an hour so written descriptions don't do them justice.

If you want to know more about the Cirque du Soliel, see a performance and skip this book.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Pahlow on November 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This was chosen as a read for our business book club. I looked forward to it. There is nothing of substance here, nothing about the huge, mutli-million dollar money machine the Cirque has become, not that there is anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say. It starts off well but then seems to turn into a vanity press piece, that seems to have been written by the Cirque PR department. Goofy "plot" about stumbling into a show in Vegas, etc. It's a made-up, silly story connected by sugary moments of sentiment overlaid with thin bits of insight. See the show and wait for a better book on this amazing organization.
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