Cirque began in 1982 in Quebec, when a group of street performers decided to found and create a modern version of the classic theatre. In 1984, Cirque was officially born. It was clear from the beginning where the differences were between it and other circuses. First, there were no animals; the entire show was human based. Also, it was more a combination of traditional circus acts, (like ariel performances and contortion,) and every day street performers, (such as jugglers and acrobats). Soon after its founding, the company slowly began to tour around Canada. In 1987 the tour came to the United States for the first time and was met with rave reviews. As popularity grew, the company soon began to mount a multitude of different shows and sent each company out on separate tours across America, Europe and Asia. In 1993, the Mirage Resort established a ten year contract with the company to remain in residency with their Mystere show. As more and more shows began to arise, the popularity and desire for the circus company grew. It even resulted in a feature length film, Journey of Man, produced by Sony Pictures in 2000. Currently, Cirque has five shows in residency in Las Vegas, multiple tours around the world, a seasonal show in New York, and many projects ready for production starting in 2008.
source http://www.cirquedusoleil.com, November 20, 2007