One step closer to Cirque

After years of training in gymnastics and cheerleading, Aaron Charbonneau is ready to take centre stage in one of the biggest acrobatic shows in the world – Cirque du Soleil.

King’s University College student Aaron Charbonneau has made the cut for Cirque de Soleil; now comes the wait for a show needing his talents.

The King’s University College student is one step closer to realizing his dream of joining the circus. Charbonneau completed a successful audition in Burlington last week for the Montreal-based company and is in line for a position in one of the spectacular shows.


“It was a lot of pressure for myself,” he says of the intense eight-hour audition during which he demonstrated his gymnastic, trampoline, flexibility and conditioning skills, along with performing a choreographed dance and acting.



This is the audition for which Charbonneau has been training his whole life.



The University of Western Ontario Mustangs cheerleading team captain was a member of the Power Cheer Gym Vipers in London. He also has 19 years of gymnastic training and has been the national cheerleading champion in tumbling for the past four years.


“A lot of people gave me a hard time for being a cheerleader,” he says. “It does validate that cheerleading has gotten me somewhere.”



Charbonneau was one of 35 people vying for a spot in the acrobatic troupe. The first cut of the audition was made at noon and Charbonneau made it through with flying colours. Seeing his dream within grasp, he pushed through the remaining tasks to become one of about 14 people to be selected.


“They sat us down and said ‘if you’ve made it this far, you are now in Cirque,'” he says. “It was cool.”



Although he had a successful audition, Charbonneau still has to wait for his curtain call.


“I’m a Cirque artist without a job in Cirque,” he says, adding it could be anywhere from a month to years before he is placed in a show.



Successful candidates are added to the list from which Cirque draws its talent for upcoming shows. If a position opens in which Charbonneau’s particular talents are required, he will begin training and be hired as an artist in one of the shows.



Meanwhile, Charbonneau will continue to maintain his skills, including training at the Power Cheer Gym and coaching.


“Life doesn’t change much yet,” he says.


Although it is a difficult waiting game, Charbonneau remains optimistic about his chances of getting placed in a show.



“The audition is a giant step in the right direction,” he says.