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Clind'Oeil – March 2004

by Martine Batani

As you enter trapeze artist Marie-Josée Lévesque's brightly colored office, she introduces you to her children by showing you their photographs. "Here, is my oldest, Alexia, she is 10 years old and has already performed with me. Cédric is 4, Mikaël is 3 and Ophélie, the youngest is 19 months old." Four kids at only 32! Pretty unusual for a circus artist. "The first time I saw the Cirque du Soleil on television, it was as if I was transported into a dream. I knew right there and then what I wanted to do with my life." She was already really good at gymnastics and as fate would have it, the Cirque du Soleil just happened to be looking for a feminine recruit for its show. The athlete passed the audition hands down but she was wounded just before leaving on tour. "I cried my eyes out.but all I could think about was getting better and joining them." So what happened? A career worthy of her efforts: Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize, trapeze acts in New-Orleans in the Bahamas , in Japan .

A little later, in 1997, she founded her own company, Cirque Fantastic Concept, that provides 'Circus à la Carte' to different organizations. "I launched it during my second pregnancy. As I couldn't train any more, I had time on my hands to manage the careers of other artists and produce shows." Three hundred and ten clowns, tightrope walkers, acrobats, etc., have already joined her pool of freelancers. And in 2003, her company presented over 20 shows at conventions, salons and galas.

This 'dealer in magic', is now a high performance mother, wife, choreographer and businesswoman. As if that wasn't enough, she also does 50 km of cycling a day. and practices singing to integrate it to her circus acts! "I am very, very busy but I still try to enjoy quality time with my children. Actually, I could say that I take as much care of my kids as I do of my company, which is actually like my fifth child!"

At the beginning: In 1998, three shows and 10 artists.

Now: 300 shows every year, 350 artists!

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