From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cirque du Soleil Saltimbanco logo
Logo for Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco
CompanyCirque du Soleil
GenreContemporary circus
Show typeTouring tent show (1992–2006); touring arena show (2007–2012)
Date of premiereApril 23, 1992 (Montreal)
Final showDecember 30, 2012 (Montréal)
Creative team
DirectorFranco Dragone
Director of creationGilles Ste-Croix (1992)
Carmen Ruest (2007)
ComposerRené Dupéré
Costume designerDominique Lemieux
Set designerMichel Crête
ChoreographerDebra Brown (1992)
Hélène Lemay (2007)
Lighting designerLuc Lafortune
Sound designerJonathan Deans (1992)
François Desjardins (2007)
Make-up designerNathalie Gagné (2007)
Mask designerAndré Hénault (1992)
Clown act creator and acting consultantRené Bazinet (2007)
Production managerPierre Guillotte (2007)
Musical Director, GuitarsFrancois Dumais (1999), (1992)
Other information
Preceded byNouvelle Expérience (1990)
Succeeded byMystère (1993)
Official website

Saltimbanco was a touring show by Cirque du Soleil. Saltimbanco ran from 1992 to 2006 in its original form, performed under a large circus tent called the Grand Chapiteau; its last performance in that form was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 10, 2006. A new adaptation of the show started touring North America on July 31, 2007, with its first stop in London, Ontario, Canada. The new version was staged in arenas with fewer performances in each city it visited. The new version closed at the end of 2012.

The show was described by Cirque du Soleil as a celebration of life. Its creators say they developed it as an antidote to the violence and despair prevalent in the 20th century.


English has lost the word saltimbank from current usage; but it is still familiar in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian as saltimbanco, and in French as saltimbanque, meaning street acrobat or entertainer.[1] According to the company's site, the word "saltimbanco" comes from the Italian "saltare in banco", which means "to jump on a bench." The etymology of the word reflects its acrobatic associations. A salto means a jump in Italian; banco in this connection is a trestle holding a board, set up as a temporary stage for open-air performers. 'Saltimbanchi' were thus those who performed somersaults on a temporary platform—wandering acrobats, performing as buskers in the open air, the platform giving their audience a better view.[2]


Saltimbanco was Cirque du Soleil's longest running production when it closed at the end of 2012.[3][4] In 2011 it was the first show by Cirque du Soleil to be presented in Turkey,[5] and Ukraine, in 2012 the first show in Slovakia and in Amman, Jordan.[6] Saltimbanco's last performance took place in Montreal on December 30, 2012[3] after 6,000 big top and arena appearances before 14 million spectators in 200 cities worldwide.[7]

Set and technical information[edit]

Saltimbanco's set played on opposites and contradictions located within a cityscape. A rosace made of metal rings suspended over the stage allowed light to filter through like leaves on a tree. The lighting was cinematic in effect due to the usage of different colored gels. The facts listed below applied to the arena format of Saltimbanco, although some of these were also applicable to the grand chapiteau tour as well.[4]

  • The stage was 110 feet (34 m) in length and 65 feet (20 m) in width.
  • The Chinese poles were 24 feet (7.3 m) in height.
  • The equipment for the show weighed a total of 180 tonnes (180 long tons; 200 short tons) and was transported and configured by 26 specialty technicians and 12 truck drivers.
  • Approximately 140 people were hired locally in each city to set up and load out the show for the arena.


The 51-member performance troupe included multiple musicians, singers, acrobats, and characters.[4][8] Characters mentioned in the show's promotional literature included:

  • The Urban Worms
  • The Multicolored Worms
  • The Cavaliers
  • The Baroques
  • The Death
  • The Ringmaster
  • The Baron
  • The Dreamer
  • The Punks
  • The Songbird (La Belle)
  • The Blue Gypsy
  • The Child
  • Eddie
  • The Angels

Numerous performers had portrayed the Baron and Eddie over the years, including René Bazinet (1992–1996), Gordon White (1993–1994), Julien Cottereau (1994–1997, 1998, 2000, 2004-2005), Lee Ross (1999–2001), Jesko von den Steinen (2002–2005, 2006), Amo Gulinello (2005–2011), and Martin Pons (2011–2012).

The 1993 Costa Mesa cast of 36 included;

With Miguel Arias, Dimitrii Arnaoutov, Rene Bazinet, Alain Berge, Pawel Biegaj , Witek Biegaj, Martin Boisvert, Jean-Paul Boun, Jenny Clement, Andrea Conway, Vincent Cotnoir, Nicolas Dupere, Joscelyn Drainville, Alain Gauthier, Nui Guishan, Sun Hongli, Miguel Herrera, Galina Karableva, Guy Kaye, Brigitt Larochelle, Isabelle Larose, Jean-Francois Lemieux, Marco Lorador, Paulo Lorador, Daniel Olivier, Francois Dumais, Francine Poitras, Mathieu Roy, Karyne Steben, Sarah Steben, Sonia St-Martin, Zhang Shengli, Anton Tchelnokov, Nikolai Tchelnokov, Neomi Tamelio, Guennadi Tchijov, Huang Zhen.[9]


The acts in Saltimbanco were a mix of traditional circus acts with more modern acts.[4][10][11]

  • Adagio trio: Three acrobats performed in an adagio that drew inspiration from acrosport.
  • Chinese poles: Up to 26 performers performed in this act using four 25-foot-tall (7.6 m) poles in the middle of the stage. They climbed up, dropped down, jumped between, hung from, and even spun on these poles.
  • Balancing on canes: A handbalance artist performed feats of strength and various contortion poses, including the Marinelli bend, while balancing on high handstand supports.
  • Juggling: A juggler used multiple balls in a display of increasing dexterity.
  • Boleadoras: Two performers twirled boleadoras in this unique act. The bolas are a percussion instrument that is hit against the ground to produce a loud popping sound. The act later included the use of the Taiko by one of the performers while the other used the bolas to play a complementary beat.
  • Russian swing: Multiple artists jumped off a large swing, performing twists, spins, and flips, before landing on human pyramids, a mat, and other props.
  • Solo trapeze: A young artist swung a trapeze incredibly high, whenever the trapeze was swung high the artist would spin up multiple times, and would catch the bar of the trapeze with her legs.
  • Hand-to-hand: A duo used an incredible amount of body strength in this act as one would balance in a handstand on the other.
  • Bungee: Four aerialists suspended from bungees flipped, swung, and bounced in synchronization with each other.

Rotational acts[edit]

  • Aerial straps: A performer swung on these straps and would use upper body strength to create many dangerous poses.

Retired acts[edit]

  • Tight rope (double wire): An acrobat ascended a wire as two more tightropes, one three feet higher than the other, were revealed. She performed various tricks including flips, spins, and splits. She even backflipped from one rope to the other, and then jumped back. This act was removed from the arena version due to rigging issues.
  • Contortion: This act featured four female contortionists from a previous Cirque du Soleil show, Nouvelle Expérience. It replaced the hand-to-hand act for several years, but did not continue after the 1998 revival.
  • Diabolo: This was a solo diabolo act using Western-style diabolo tricks.
  • Vertical rope: This was one of the original Saltimbanco acts, a Spanish web act originally performed by the adagio troupe. This act was not seen outside of the North America/Japan tour.
  • Manipulation: This act featured three women manipulating ribbons and hoops. It replaced the boleadoras act.
  • Artistic bicycle: A bicycle artist wheeled around the stage, all the while playing the guitar, hand balancing, swinging and dancing on wheels.
  • Duo trapeze: This act featured two female artists who would swing on a trapeze, one would leap off and would be caught at the last minute by the other performer and be brought back onto the trapeze for the next trick.


The costumes in Saltimbanco were bright and vivid in color to accentuate the dynamism of the urban city. The colors used in the costumes were all primary colors: cyan, yellow, magenta, and green.[12] The Baron, clad in black, red, and white, wore a cape, length-arm gloves, and tights. The Multi-Colored Worms wore jumpsuits that covered everything but their faces. The Urban Worms's masks were made of a polyester resin base which was both hypoallergenic and permeable to air.


The original album artwork for Saltimbanco, 1992

The Saltimbanco score was written and composed by René Dupéré, and was released as a studio album on October 9, 1992. The music has a range of musical influences from the classical to the modern.

The original soundtrack features the vocal work of Canadian vocalist Francine Poitras. In 2005, Cirque du Soleil re-recorded and released the soundtrack to update its music. Some songs were completely re-recorded, while others had new instrumentation added and included Poitras's original vocal track. Additional and new vocals were provided by Laurence Janot, a French singer who was touring with the show at the time. Every track was slightly edited in some form from the original CD.

Several other limited editions of the album have been released. In 2001 Cirque du Soleil Musique released a limited edition of the original 1992 soundtrack featuring two additional tracks, "Arlequin" and "Adagio" (performed by Laur Fugere). Another limited edition of the CD, Saltimbanco Live in Amsterdam, was created and distributed exclusively to staff members of Saltimbanco. The employee special edition features a live, in-house recording of an entire performance and is considered a collector's item.

Below is the list of tracks featured in the 2005 re-release of the album and alongside are the acts during which each song was performed.

  1. Kumbalawé (Opening pt. 2)
  2. Saltimbanco (Chinese poles)
  3. Cantus-Mélopée (Solo trapeze, 1994–2006, 2011-2012)
  4. Norweg (Double wire, 1992–2006)
  5. Kazé (Double wire, 1992–2006)
  6. Barock (Russian swing)
  7. Adagio (Adagio trio)
  8. Amazonia (Duo trapeze, 1992–2011, 2011-2012)
  9. Pokinoï
    • (Vertical rope, 1992–1994)
    • (Boleadoras transition)
  10. Il Sogno Di Volare (Bungee)
  11. Horéré Ukundé (Finale)
  12. Rideau (Opening pt. 1)

Other songs

  1. Cloche et Présentation (Introduction to the show)
  2. Clown (Eddie's Clown acts)
  3. Jungle (Eddie's Clown acts, 1992–1997, 1998, 2000, 2004-2005)
  4. Standoff (Eddie's Clown acts)
  5. Slaloom (Bicycle)
    • Diabolo (2002–2006)
    • Artistic Bycicle (2007–2011)
    • Aerial Straps (2012)
  6. Rêve (Transition)
  7. Rave Out (Kusimano)
    • Contortion (1995–1997)
    • Manipulation (1998–2001)
    • Balancing on Canes (2009–2012)
  8. Arlequin (Juggling)
  9. Darkness (Intro to Boleadoras)
  10. Malamba Ver.1 (Boleadoras, 1992–1994)
  11. Malamba Ver.2 (Boleadoras, 1995–2006)
  12. Malamba Ver.3 (Boleadoras, 2007–2012)
  13. Cabaret (Cabaret Transition - Russian Swing transition, 1992–1994)
  14. Tap Dance (Cabaret Transition - Russian Swing transition, 1994–2005)
  15. Pocoleta (Second act intro, 2006–2012)
  16. Démontage Trapèze (Solo/Double Trapeze transition)
  17. La Mort (Character scene)
  18. Urgence (Hand to Hand)
  19. Transfert (Transition from bungee)

Further information[edit]


Saltimbanco's Diary[edit]

Cirque du Soleil Presents: Saltimbanco[edit]

The show was filmed and released as a 78-minute VHS in 1994, though the show's acts continued to change significantly after it was filmed.

Saltimbanco 20 ans Pour Toujours / Forever 20[edit]

In 2012, just before the show's retirement, a behind-the-scenes documentary was filmed, titled Saltimbanco Forever 20 (directed by Eric Chaussé; director of photography: Miguel Henriques; editor: Julie Bouffard). This documentary has thus far remained unreleased, although a short clip was leaked in October 2013.[13] In 2014 another excerpt was leaked featuring an interview with boleadoras performer Adriana Pegueroles;[14][15] another clip, about the show's music, was published in 2019.[citation needed]


Saltimbanco toured around the world several times during its original 14-year tour under the Grand Chapiteau. It played its final show in the Royal Albert Hall in London on 1 February 1997. Saltimbanco was revived the following year on 14 October 1998, and went on to tour the Asia-Pacific region. The show played for another nine years, becoming the first Cirque du Soleil show to tour South America, with visits to Santiago, Chile (March 2006); Buenos Aires, Argentina (May 2006); and São Paulo (August 2006) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (October 2006). That tour's final performance took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 10 December 2006.

Following its closure in December 2006, Saltimbanco was configured into an arena show format, and re-launched in July 2007 to commence an extensive North American tour, visiting cities and areas that Cirque du Soleil had previously been unable to visit. The tour started in London, Ontario and subsequently toured Canada and the United States. Saltimbanco’s three-year tour of North America ended in Columbus, Ohio. In 2009 the show embarked on its third tour of Europe. Between 2011 and 2012, it visited over 50 cities in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America.

Saltimbanco's final performance took place in Montreal on 30 December 2012.[16]

Saltimbanco has been to many different regions, here is the list of all of them.

  • North American Tour - (1992–1993)
  • Japan Tour - (1994)
  • Montreal special - (1994–1995)
  • European Tour - (1995–1997)
  • Ottawa special - (1998)
  • Asia & Pacific Tour - (1999–2000)
  • North American Tour II (pacific northwest) - (2000)
  • Japan Tour II - (2001)
  • European Tour II - (2002–2005)
  • Mexican Tour - (2005–2006)
  • South American Tour - (2006)
  • North American Arena Tour - (2007–2009)
  • European Tour III - (2009–2011)
  • South African Tour - (2011)
  • Australian Tour - (2011)
  • European Tour - (2011–2012)
  • Asian Middle East Tour - (2012)
  • North American Arena Tour II - (2012)

The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:
 EU   Europe  NA   North America  SA   South America  AP   Asia/Pacific  OC   Oceania  AF   Africa


  1. ^ Saltimbanque - Dictionnaire Français-Anglais
  2. ^ Acrobats and Mountebanks, Le Roux, Hugues, 1860–1925; Garnier, Jules Arsène, 1847–1889, ill; Morton, A. P Translated A P Morton. London, Chapman and Hall 1890.
  3. ^ a b Pat Donnelly (14 December 2012). "Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco: A final bow, but no last rites". The Gazette (Montreal).
  4. ^ a b c d "Saltimbanco Press Kit" (PDF). Cirque du Soleil (Press Kit). Retrieved 2011-03-08.
  5. ^ "For the First Time ever in Turkey, the Legendary, Original Cirque du Soleil Presents the Signature Production Saltimbanco". Cirque du Soleil Press Release. 2011-02-09. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  6. ^ "Cirque du Soleil Presents for the First Time in Slovakia the Signature Production Saltimbanco". Cirque du Soleil Press Release. 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  7. ^ "Saltimbanco: A Dedicated Troupe Bows Out". Cirque du Soleil. 2012. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  8. ^ "Saltimbanco Characters". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Archived from the original on 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  9. ^ L.A. Times Feb 1, 1993
  10. ^ "Satimbanco Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Archived from the original on 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  11. ^ "Saltimbanco Acts". The Cirque Tribune. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  12. ^ Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 22–27. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8.
  13. ^ "Saltimbanco 20 ans Pour Toujours (Extrait/Clip)" [Saltimbanco Forever 20 [Excerpt/Clip]]. Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  14. ^ "Saltimbanco Documentary" at Archived 2015-10-03 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Adriana Pegueroles, Cirque du Soleil". YouTube. June 26, 2014.
  16. ^ CTDB - Saltimbanco (Tour Schedule)

External links[edit]