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November 14, 2013

Cirque Eloize presents Cirkopolis

MONTREAL — The cogs in this wheel go round and round.

Until someone breaks free, that is.

The acclaimed Montreal-based circus troupe Cirque Eloize presents its latest show, “Cirkopolis,” for a two-week run at Place des Arts, now through Nov. 30.

Jeannot Painchaud, co-director of “Cirkopolis” and artistic director and founder of the circus troupe, has been entertaining audiences since the mid-1990s.

Cirque Eloize (say el-waz) was created in Painchaud’s home of the Magdalen Islands, a small archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence River between the provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia.

For a clue to the show’s creativity, look no further than the company name.

“Eloize translates to ‘heat lighting,’” Painchaud said.

“The first members of Cirque Eloize all came from the Magdalen Islands, so that’s why we gave it that name.”

BIG BREAK IN NEW YORK

As a young circus performer, Painchaud soon packed his bags, headed to Montreal and studied at the National Circus School of Canada.

The company’s first big break, however, came in a place well-known for theater — the troupe performed for a children’s festival in Rudy Giuliani’s re-vamped Times Square/42nd Street area of New York City at the New Victory Theater.

“There was a major project to re-construct the 42nd Street area in the 1990s,” Painchaud said. “We were one of the first performers.

“It was the only place open between 8th Avenue and Broadway. We were a young, unknown company, and we were honored to be chosen to open this theater. And we ran for 125 shows.”

TOURED THE WORLD

And Cirque Eloize never looked back. They have since created almost a dozen original shows and have performed in more than 440 cities in 40 countries around the world.

“We just kept going,” Painchaud said. “But we did have a goal.”

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