Arts, News

Cirque Du Soleil Lays Off 400 Employees

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Clown, Cirque du Soleil; image: Camirand; costume: Dominique Lemieux
Clown, Cirque du Soleil; image: Camirand; costume: Dominique Lemieux

Some of Cirque du Soleil’s performers will soon have their feet on the ground. That’s because the fantastical circus company is laying off 400 employees.

Cirque employs about 5,000 people around the world, doing more than 100 types of jobs including performing. Most of the lay-offs will be at the organization’s Montreal headquarters, according to an article in the Globe and Mail.

Cirque du Soleil is a famous Canadian performing troupe. According to Wikipedia, they describe themselves as “a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment.” They were founded by two former street performers, Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste-Croix, about 30 years ago.

Their shows have to be seen to be believed. Part acrobatic circus, part theatre with a little magic thrown in, Cirque fascinates audiences around the world.

Many of the performers Cirque du Soleil hires are former Olympic athletes such as gymnasts, swimmers and divers.

Being “laid off” is not the same as being “fired.” Layoffs are typically done for business reasons, rather than reasons specific to any employee.

"The Nostalgic Old Birds"; Image: Al Seib; Costume: Dominique Lemieux
“The Nostalgic Old Birds”; Image: Al Seib; Costume: Dominique Lemieux

In this case, Cirque du Soleil has to cut its costs—or expenses—in part due to the recent dip in the global economy. Things have been difficult financially for many companies, and Cirque du Soleil is no exception. According to The Globe and Mail, the company has also expanded very quickly recently, which created new expenses they needed to offset.

In spite of its need to lay off workers and cut expenses, Cirque made nearly $1-billion last year and expects to sell more than 15 million tickets in 2013.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Canadian comedian, Steve Patterson, recently tweeted this comment:

Cirque du Soleil lays off 400 employees. I’m pretty sure they’ll land on their feet.

— Steve Patterson (@patterballs) January 17, 2013

What does this joke mean? Do you think it’s funny? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
Cirque du Soleil translates literally into English as “circus of the sun.” However, the name is meant to mean more than that. What do you think the figurative meaning of Cirque du Soleil is?

Junior
Identify various elements of style – includ- ing word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Intermediate
Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Grammar Feature: Sentence structure
Sentences are made of different types of words. For example, all sentences must contain a person, place, or thing (noun) and an action or state of being (verb). But sentences also follow rules about their structure. For example, if a sentence is written in its most direct from, it will have a noun followed by a verb.

“Cirque du Soleil is a famous Canadian performing troupe.”

However, writers can change the way a sentence works by simply adjusting its structure. The following sentence is written in an indirect form.

“Part acrobatic circus, part theatre with a little magic thrown in, Cirque fascinates audiences around the world.”

As you can see, the beginning of the above sentence doesn’t make sense without the second half, and the second half does not need the first half.

Why do you think authors vary the styles of their sentences? Is it effective? Is it important?

Do you change up the structure of the sentences you write?