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Dreams of the Solo Trapeze: Offstage with the Cirque du Soleil Hardcover – December 20, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Canal House (December 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975466402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975466407
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Circus is family.... Do you understand? Every circus begins with a family": these words by solo trapeze artist Olga Sidorova are dramatically illuminated by Schreiber's portrait of the artists who perform in Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco. A serendipitous meeting with Sidorova at an Amsterdam nightclub drew the author, a novelist (Princes in Exile), into an intriguing world of acrobats, Olympic gymnasts, jugglers, mimes and aerial artists, and he immersed himself in that world for a year. The Cirque, founded in 1984 with headquarters in Montreal, is famed for dazzling productions that creatively employ circus arts mixed with theater, dance, music, sound and costumes. Although Schreiber was refused permission to speak with troupe members backstage (he did meet with them outside the hightop), he was assisted by his deepening friendship with Sidorova while following Saltimbanco to Barcelona, Vienna and Brussels. Schreiber provides a wealth of perceptive portraits, but his eloquent evocation of Sidorova is the heart and soul of this account. Sidorova fled her childhood home in Siberia at the age of 14, determined to realize her dream of becoming a trapeze artist. After some very rough spots, she trained with several excellent aerial coaches before finally joining the Cirque. Here she emerges as a woman who has achieved success in a highly dangerous profession by grit and grace.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Schreiber loves the circus, and he is particularly fond of that immensely successful blend of acrobatics, theater, dance, music, and spectacle known as Cirque du Soleil. His deep appreciation shines (perhaps too brightly at times) on every page of his account of the behind-the-scenes life of the artists who perform in Saltimbanco, one of the company's many shows. The American writer turned a chance encounter with a Russian trapeze artist, Olga Sidorova, into an opportunity to hang out with the circus as it moved through Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Vienna. He met many intriguing characters, but none more fascinating than she. The highly talented performer is by turns feisty, charming, furious, endearing, and infuriating, but at all times devoted to her art. Any teen with ambitions of a career in the performing arts, as well as anyone who has attended a Cirque du Soleil show, should be especially attracted to this informed and enjoyable glimpse into the high-energy world of the circus performer.–Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Flows well and kept my interest.
C. jibben
Cirque is the ultimate escape, and the amazing people involved with the production are explored in depth.
Retroblonde
Schreiber writes beautifully and brings the reader into the world of Cirque through vivid descriptions.
Annie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dreams of the Solo Trapeze is the memoir of one man's amazing journey alongside trapeze artists Olga Sidorova, as he sees firsthand the globe-trotting experience of the Cirque du Soleil. From Amsterdam to Barcelona to London, Montreal and Las Vegas. Witnessing firsthand the demands of art, physical conditioning, high-stakes performance, competition, candor, and love, Dreams of the Solo Trapeze is an enthralling odyssey of human striving and the secret lives of performers in the spotlight. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Annie on April 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a brilliant book that gives everyone a look into the daily lives of the performers of Cirque du Soleil. An entertaining and inspiring book. Schreiber writes beautifully and brings the reader into the world of Cirque through vivid descriptions. I couldn't put this book down. This book will delight you whether you are a fan of the circus or not.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tara on January 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Great Book!!!! I from the moment I started it I just could not put it down. I am not sure what it is about the circus life, the community and the art that is circus which attracts and captivates me so much, but what I was most impressed with in this book was that I feel the book had a good way of capturing and communicating that feeling. And I think that even a non circus junky person unlike myself might also be able to take that away from the book as well. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elliot Reis on December 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think what makes this book so hard to put down is that it provides so much detail on a previously unexplored topic, life inside one of the most amazing shows on earth and the performers within. I would not recommend the book unless you've seen the Cirque, because the athletic and artistic skills of the performers cannot be described in a book, and you won't be in sufficient awe of them without having seen them perform.

The fact that the Cirque itself seems so closed to mainstream media makes this book all the more alluring. Schreiber earned the performers trust through genuine friendship and only then do they open up to him. And Mark's developing friendships with the performers makes a good backdrop to learning about the peformers - their backgrounds, versatile and brutal training, and their ecclectic personas.

The story does ramble a bit at time, but returns quickly when it does. A must if you love the Cirque.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
an okay book. some interesting characters, some intriguing stories told secondhand, and surely some glimpses into the Cirque. but the author stretches too often to find gripping material. the result, at times, makes for less than compelling reading. hard to say how the author might have punched the content up. by his own admission, his decision to write the book grew out of a chance meeting with one of the Cirque's stars -- a Siberian trapeze artist-- who clearly captivated him from first blush. perhaps his encounters with her would have better served as a magazine feature article. rather, he immediately makes an unplanned committment to himself to build a book around this (admittedly fascinating) woman, only to realize, (or so it seems)that in the end he is not up to the task of unraveling her complex character. consequently we find him falling back on the woman's connections to other Cirque personnel as the basis for extending the book. and once he seems to realize that he's falling short of depth of material needed to compose a truly compelling book, his investigation of the woman and her Cirque chums fall victim to lazy narrative. the narrative gets built largely around the woman and other circus artists traveling around Europe. the travelogue and peppering of their stories make for no particular point or conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Barnes on April 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you like true stories, if you would like to be a vicarious voyeur behind the scenes at the Cirque,if you are appreciative of deep understanding about human nature and if you love unexpected humor, you want to read this book. The author has an uncanny ability to tap into a character's psyche, and he does so brilliantly with his respectful description of each member of the troupe. His discoveries of the lives behind the Cirque are as intriguing to the reader as they must have been for him. Mr. Schreiber is successful at sparking the reader's interest, striking a chord of compassion, providing page-turning information and providing frequent and refreshing accents of dry yet chuckle-out-loud humor. He writes with unassuming genius and I have come away from reading this book with a new appreciation for the Cirque and the desire to experience it as a member of the audience one day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Retroblonde on August 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mark Schreiber takes you backstage, around the world, and into the lives of performing artists so you can feel as though you are part of the glorious, fascinating Cirque family. I was mesmerized! Please Schreiber, write a sequel with more photos! I want to run away to Cirque, and Schreiber explains that feeling. Cirque is the ultimate escape, and the amazing people involved with the production are explored in depth.
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