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Cool Jobs Q&A: Circus Performer

Maclean’s Cool Jobs: Cedric Belisle, who works at Cirque du Soleil Education and training, on the importance of being flexible in your career


 

CEDRIC BELISLE, 25

  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Education and training: Four-year bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Ottawa
  • Member of the Canadian junior national trampolining team
  • Average yearly income: $55,000-$75,000
  • Years on the job: 6

Describe a typical day on the job.

The days vary. Sometimes we have a one-show day, sometimes we have a two-show day. If it’s a one-show day, I’ll do some training in the afternoon—some weights. I’ll start my makeup around 6 o’clock for an 8 o’clock show. That takes 45 minutes. Then I eat dinner.

What’s your favourite part?

To be honest, I think the travelling. We just finished 2½ years in Europe. To be able to travel and work at the same time is incredible. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world.

Is it dangerous?

What I did before was pretty dangerous. Now that I’ve taught myself how to do roue Cyr, there’s some potential for injury, but a lot less than trampolining.

What advice do you have for someone who wants your job?

Just keep training. Make sure you love what you do; that’s the most important part.

What are the pros and cons?

Travelling and performing every night in front of thousands of people. And seeing them on their feet is pretty amazing. To see the crowd standing on their feet—you don’t get that when you compete. The con is being away from my family. I’ve been on tour for 3½ years. My parents were only able to come out once. It’s not as much as I’d normally get to see them. Thank god for Skype.

How often do you get to go home?

It depends on the year. Coming back from Europe, they had to transfer the show back to North America, so I got to get home for about six months.

Do you think you’ll be doing this for the rest of your life?

I do love my job and I want to stay in this job for as long as I can. If not, maybe I’ll go back to school.

Is there an age limit?

It depends on your body and how much your body can sustain. I work out every day to keep my body strong.

How would you describe what you do?

The roue Cyr is not very well-known. It’s a big metal hula hoop that’s bigger than me. What I do in it is spin. I change my hand position, I change my feet position.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?

Back in 2005, I was at my first nationals ever. It was the first time for me to compete in front of everyone in Canada. On my second routine, I completely cleared the trampoline and fell flat on the floor. You learn from your mistakes, you know. Maybe, if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here today.


 
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