Off Stage: Circus and Entrepreneurship

Circus News

Off Stage: Circus and Entrepreneurship with Marie-Lee Guilbert, Philippe and Alanna Bélanger

“Off Stage” is a 3-part, written series for the circus performer pursuing interests outside of the performing arts, or “off stage.” Our host and author for the series is performer, choreographer, and writer,Elena Suárez Pariente. The series presents three interviews between Elena and her guests as they offer personal stories and advice on pursuing parallel passions to circus performance. The topics here include pursuing a degree, starting and running a business, and turning a hobby into a lucrative side job.

In this next segment of CircusTalk’s Original Series, “Off Stage,” my three guests speak from their experiences as both performers and entrepreneurs. All owners of their unique companies, each professional will explain what motivates them to keep going, how they make their occupations sustainable, and what mindset is necessary to balance their artist career with their own business projects. Let’s dive in with Marie-Lee Guilbert and Philippe and Alanna Bélanger, all currently based out of Las Vegas.

Some background on our guests: Marie-Lee and Philippestudied together at L’école de Cirque de Québec in Quebec City early in their circus careers, and have been acrobaticpartners ever since, performing as a unicycle duo for more than a decade. Originally from London, Alanna comes from a gymnastics background, and among her various skills, has become an aerial acrobat.The three performers have traveled the world with Cirque du Soleil for a significant portion of their careers. Philippe and Marie-Lee secured their first contract with Cirque in the touring show, Kooza, followed by Paramour, in New York, and then went back on tour with Volta in 2017. Alanna joined Cirque du Soleil in 2013, performing in front of thousands of people during her eight years with the touring show Ovo. Today, you can see Philippe and Marie-Lee’s duo unicycle act in the show Absinthe by Spiegelworld, and find Alanna balancing different gigs in the city, including being an on-call artist in O by Cirque du Soleil. She also performs her aerial hoop solo act in Lost Spirits Distillery and has recently joined Spiegelworld to be a part of the Sway Poles act in Absinthe.

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Elena Suarez Pariente

Elena Suárez Pariente is an artist, journalist and barre coach from Spain. She was the original ballerina from the show Volta by Cirque du Soleil, and currently performs a hair hanging solo act in Spiegelworld’s Opium in Las Vegas, US. Elena has experience as a dancer, actress and hair hanger, and also studied journalism in Madrid. She is passionate about art, culture and sharing other people's stories.