CIRQUE DU SOLEIL (R) THE SPARK : Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All
Creativity and innovation are widely recognized as essential to success in business, and so many aspects of our lives. For over two decades, Cirque du Soleil has been a world-renowned laboratory of creativity, enthralling audiences around the world by fusing dazzling acrobatics, staging and choreography, and music, along with beautiful costumes and technical effects to inspire and create magical, almost otherworldly theatrical experiences. In The Spark, Cirque's former president of creative content, Lyn Heward, invites readers inside the world and ideas of Cirque du Soleil through the story of an ordinary man searching for meaning in his work and life. Like so many other people in their careers, sports agent Frank Castle has lost the passion he once had for his job. But a chance encounter with an inspiring Cirque du Soleil director takes him inside Cirque du Soleil to meet the artists, directors, designers, and technicians who create, shape, and perform in their acclaimed shows. As the story unfolds, the artists reveal surprising secrets about the sparks that ignite their creativity - from the pressure of deadlines and the exhilaration that comes from risking it all, to the chance encounters and everyday occurrences that have changed the way they live and work.
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April 09, 2006
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Excerpt from CIRQUE DU SOLEIL (R) THE SPARK by John U. Bacon
Through the White Doors
If You Have No Idea What You're Looking For . . .
When people ask where my remarkable journey began, I tell them it was somewhere between the first and seventh doors. At least, that's where I found myself after I left behind the cacophony of the casino, with its blinking lights, rolling dice, and excitement around every corner. As fascinated as I was with the land of chance, I needed to give my senses a brief respite from the spinning wheels of fortune.
I was searching for something, though for what, I didn't know. Something extraordinary. Something beyond the mundane world of marketing and money that had brought me to Las Vegas in the first place. Something beyond the grind that had become my life. Of course, if you have no idea what you're looking for, it's pretty hard to find it.
I was about to escape to my hotel room for a moment of tranquillity, when I saw two men dressed in black work outfits walking away from the slot machines toward a qui-eter part of the casino. It was in an almost dreamlike state that I followed them. They disappeared through a plain white door perhaps the only portal in the casino that didn't seem to announce what was on the other side. Intrigued, I pushed on it, and it opened, leading me into a completely silent, perfectly white corridor, lit so well it almost glowed with energy. A few feet in front of me was another door, just as pristine, every bit as beckoning. I opened it, though more tentatively than the first, for while I could surely pass off wandering through one wrong door as a mistake, opening the second seemed a more serious offense.
Behind the second white door was a third. Who were those men and where were they going And what would I do when I found them. What kind of Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole adventure was I getting myself into. As I passed through the next door, I noticed a security camera above and a security desk to my left, and I felt my shoulders tense up. What were they trying to protect here But there was not a soul in sight, so I kept going. By the time I reached the sixth door, I had accepted that I had no idea where the corridor was leading me but I had the unmistakable sense that, as each door closed behind me, I was one step closer to what I was searching for.
As I pushed through the seventh door, I realized I had reached the end of the corridor and the beginning of my journey. The final door opened into a vast theatre. Rows of plush blue seats arced to my left. The ceiling soared a hun dred feet above me, and I resisted the urge to call out and hear the sound of my voice echoing, if only to prove to myself that I wasn't dreaming.
To my right was the strangest stage I'd ever encountered. I watched as a mysterious monolithic structure, maybe forty by eighty feet, moved left and right, forward and back, and finally stood straight up and down, as if defying gravity. I couldn't determine its purpose surely it wasn't part of the stage. You'd have to be Spiderman to scale such a precipice!
On the other side of the theatre, I could see the men who d unwittingly led me through the doors. They were tinkering with equipment on the revolving column, which was perched precariously behind a stage floor that opened into a seemingly bottomless abyss. Though they were a good twenty yards away, I could hear their voices; the acoustics of the theatre were that crisp. I could detect several distinct accents among the half-dozen people around the stage Scottish, Russian, Texan, and French Canadian.
They were so focused on their work that no one seemed to notice I was there. My curiosity was aroused in a way it hadn't been since college, when every experience was a new adventure and I didn't have to worry about the consequences of my actions the way I did now; my mind seemed alive to the possibilities my surroundings presented. I sat down in one of the theatre seats, in the middle of everything, and took it all in.