A driving force in the circus art reinvention movement since 1993, Cirque Éloize has been creating award-winning entertainment content and ranks among the world’s leading contemporary circuses. Cirque Éloize has taken part in numerous prestigious international festivals and has seduced both New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. Its productions are crafted for a wide range of audiences and have been embraced by over fifty cultures.
Cirque Éloize’s productions have proudly boasted more than 6 000 performances in over 600 cities and have been seen by over 5 million spectators. Cirque Éloize has also participated in the most prestigious festivals. In addition to its touring shows, more than 1,800 Cirque Éloize-designed events have taken place worldwide.
Like the entire cultural sector, Cirque Éloize was strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company immediately set out to quickly revive the creative gesture by developing innovative and sustainable projects that allow physical distancing. It was through this collective effort of a strong and resilient team that the immersive exhibition Arctic – A Man Under the Ice was born, giving rise to the creation of a new company division, Éloize Expo.
Since opening its doors in Montreal last summer, this unique and entertaining exhibit has already sold more than one hundred thousand tickets in a few short months and has earned rave reviews. The exhibition continues to enthrall Canadian audiences and it will soon make the leap to the international stage.
Cirque Éloize’s head office and creative studio are located in the Gare Dalhousie, a historic building in the heart of Old-Montreal, departure station of the first train going from Montreal to Vancouver in 1889. In order to maintain this site as a place for dialogue and encounters for the circus community, Cirque Éloize invites up-and-coming artists to visit. Today, the company includes more than 100 individuals working in various teams and projects.
President and Chief Creative Officer
Jeannot fell in love with the circus arts in 1984. A showman at heart with a genuine interest in all art forms, he set out to hit the road and travel the globe.
As a graduate of Montreal’s National Circus School, Jeannot launched his career as an acrobat, juggler and specialist in artistic cycling for a variety of troupes. In 1993, he co-founded Cirque Éloize and performed in the company’s shows until leaving the stage in 1998 to devote himself to developing the company. During these first few years, Jeannot literally juggled all of the roles within the company. In addition to performing, he was in charge of booking the shows, hiring resources, negotiating contracts, as well as driving the touring truck! Today, as the President and Chief of Creation of Cirque Éloize, he is the mind behind the creative process of each creation.
Jeannot prides himself on bringing together creators from various backgrounds and incorporating different art forms into the acrobatic acts.
In 2009, Jeannot directed iD, a stunning creation that brought together the world of urban dance and the circus arts. In 2012, together with Dave St-Pierre, he directed Cirkopolis, the company’s tenth creation, which after a performance in New York in 2014 won the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. From May 2009 to May 2013, Jeannot chaired the board of En Piste, the national circus arts network. He has also received the bronze medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, the prestigious Samuel de Champlain Award, the UCDA Krider Prize for Creativity. He became Chevalier of the « Ordre National du Québec » in 2017 and Companion of the « Arts et des lettres du Québec » in 2018.
“I got into the circus because I used to dream of travelling the entire globe. It’s the most accessible, most beautiful way that I’ve found to do it.”
Designer of the Cyr Wheel and its technique
The Sumerians invented the wheel circa 3300 BC. The wheel was an extraordinary invention that would change the course of human history. Daniel Cyr, Cirque Éloize Co-Founder, designed the Cyr Wheel in 2003 AD. The Cyr Wheel is as simple in shape as it is to use – a device that allows circus performers to execute a virtually infinite number of acrobatic figures, each more complex and awe-inspiring than the last. Since its inauguration at the prestigious Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris in 2003, where Daniel Cyr won the Silver Medal for his Cyr Wheel number, it has dazzled spectators in the Cirque Éloize shows entitled Nomade, Rain, iD, Cirkopolis and Saloon as well as in Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, and during the closing ceremonies for the XX Winter Olympic Games in Turin.
The Sumerians of yesteryear could not have foreseen the countless possibilities that their invention has engendered. Daniel Cyr’s wheel, which is light and strong, is a device that is no less fabulous, resembling a machine that may have sprung from the mind of Leonardo da Vinci. Once learned, mastered, and used as an object of creation, the Cyr Wheel becomes an extension of the body. As the Wheel turns, it also turns the heads of awed spectators.
Over the course of a few short years, the Cyr Wheel has earned its letters of nobility, and has become an integral part of the circus universe. Close to 100 acrobats around the world now practice this discipline, including 30 who were trained by Daniel Cyr himself. The inventor of the Cyr Wheel has also been invited to teach the technique for using his new device at a number of circus schools in Europe, at the National Circus School of Montreal and at Cirque du Soleil, for which he developed one number and trained the artists for Corteo. The Cyr Wheel is now among the disciplines that are taught at the National Circus School of Montreal and it’s just the beginning. As the Wheel continues to turn, innumerable new movements are created and the borders of stage creation are pushed back even further.
We have taken part in many festivals and events and performed in some of these prestigious venues:
- Hong Kong Festival, Hong Kong, China
- Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogota, Bogota, Colombia
- Sadler’s Wells, London, England
- Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York, United States of America
- Bunkamura Orchard Hall, Tokyo, Japan
- Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, United States of America
- Beiteddine Festival, Beyrouth, Lebanon
- Chekhov International Theatre Festival, Moscow, Russia
- Forum Universel des Cultures 2007, Monterrey, Mexico
- Tours in the US Broadway network
- Our performances have been featured in clips and documentaries airing on Radio-Canada, the CBC, Art TV, Prime Nights, Bravo, Indigo and NTV (Japan)
- Nominated for the “Rose d’Or” of Montreux (France) and the NY Film Festival (USA)
The company has won 12 medals at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de demain in Paris (France):
- 1992: Jeannot Painchaud – Artistic Bicycle / Bronze
- 2002: Duo Symbiose – Hand Balancing act / Silver
- 2003: Daniel Cyr – Cyr Wheel act / Silver
- 2005: Typo, produced by Cirque Éloize, collected 5 awards;
- 2010: Leilani Franco and Christian “Sancho” Garmatter – for their contortion and hip hop act in iD / prix coup de coeur du festival
- 2013: Angelica Bongiovonni collected 3 awards for her Cyr Wheel act in Cirkopolis – Silver Medal, Best Costume and Moulin Rouge Awards
Awards and nominations:
- Nominated in 2004 Best Touring Production of the Year Theatre Award category for the series of shows presented at the Whales Millenium Center for Rain;
- Rain : Ranked as one of the 10 best shows of the year by the 2005 IN REVIEW – San Francisco Chronicle Theater Robert Hurnwitt;
- Winner of the 26th Grand Prix du Conseil des Arts de Montréal in 2010 for iD and its exceptional exposure;
- Jeannot Painchaud was the recipient of the 2011 “Prix Samuel de Champlain”;
- Winner of a Drama Desk Award 2014 for “Unique Theatrical Experience“ for Cirkopolis
- Nominations at New York’s Drama Desk Awards :
– “Unique Theatrical Experience” – Typo (2005)
– “Unique Theatrical Experience” – Rain (2006)
– “Outstanding Director of a Musical” – Daniele Finzi Pasca, Rain (2006)
– “Outstanding Lighting Design” – Martin Labrecque, Rain (2006)
– “Outstanding Projection Design” – Robert Massicotte and Alexis Laurence, Cirkopolis (2014).
- Nomination for an Off-Broadway Alliance Award :
– “Best Unique Theatrical Experience” – Cirkopolis (2014)
- Krider Price for Creativity (UCDA Foundation) in 2012.
Gemini Awards :
- Winner of a GEMINI AWARD for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series in October 2003 for the TV presentation of Cirque Orchestra live on tour in 2003
- Winner of a GEMINI AWARD for Nomade – At night, the sky is endless in 2005.