A driving force in Quebec’s cultural scene for the past 30 years, Cirque Éloize creates, produces and stages content that enchants audiences. A recognized leader in the contemporary circus, Cirque Éloize weds the circus arts with music, dance, technology and theatre to enthrall spectators looking for meaningful entertainment.
Its original productions have been embraced by over 5 million spectators at over 6,000 performances in more than 600 cities around the world. The company has also participated in the world’s most prestigious festivals. In addition to its touring shows, Cirque Éloize has created, designed and produced over 1,800 events in its Dalhousie Station studios in Montreal and on stages around the world.
More recently, the company has expanded into a multidisciplinary powerhouse offering a diverse range of creations.
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 Painchaud, the founder, President and Chief Creative Officer of Cirque Éloize, is a visionary pioneer of the contemporary circus.
A graduate of the National Circus School and the Centre national des Arts du Cirque in Châlons-sur-Marne, France, Jeannot got his start as a street entertainer at some of Montreal’s biggest festivals, then on the French Riviera, where he lit up the crowds on Terrasses de Saint-Tropez in the summer of 1988. He went on to medal at the Festival mondial du cirque de demain and perform around the world with companies including the Cirque du Soleil.
Over the past 30 years, he has been instrumental in the emergence of the modern circus. With undying passion for circus arts, artists and artisans, he continues to guide Cirque Éloize. His entrepreneurial flair led the company to develop a global theatre touring circuit far from the big top. This innovative business model paved the way for a new generation of circus artists and is now embraced by most modern circuses.
Under his leadership, Cirque Éloize has produced nearly 30 original shows that have enthralled over five million spectators in more than 60 countries. It has also participated in hundreds of major events and festivals around the world. He has now transformed the company into a multidisciplinary powerhouse specialized in major events augmented with technological innovation and breathtaking visual effects.
He was a 2011 recipient of the Prix Samuel de Champlain awarded by the Institut France-Canada and was appointed Knight of the Ordre national du Québec in 2017 and Companion of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres du Québec in 2018.
In 2021, his attachment to his native Magdalen Islands led to the acquisition of Havre-Aubert’s former church and elementary school. He undertook major renovations, creating a unique cultural and tourism hub, Au Pied des Demoiselles. Now a multidisciplinary performance space, the church is the ideal venue for a range of large-scale productions to delight the archipelago’s natives and summer visitors. The second phase of the project will transform the adjoining school into lodging, creative residences for artists, a multidisciplinary room, a yoga studio, a restaurant and space for other local businesses. The goal: weave an inspiring social fabric and living environment around the facilities.
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
- Awarded the Ordre National du Québec mention, given to Jeannot Painchaud for exceptional achievements, values and ideals at Cirque Éloize in 2017
- Awarded Member of l’Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec given to Jeannot Painchaud in 2018
- Awarded best social impact project in 2022 by HUB Mtl for ARCTIC Under the Ice Immersive Exhibition
- Awarded Innovation Prize by the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal (AHGM) 2022 for Celeste at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth
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.