DREAMS OF THE SOLO TRAPEZE: Offstage with the Cirque du Soleil

Mark Schreiber, Author . Canal House $19.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-9754664-0-7

"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. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
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