Singular Bodies, Collective Dreams: Socially Engaged Circus Arts and the Québec Spring

Jennifer B. Spiegel
Date Published: 
Published In/by: 
Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press

As part of the ASC! Project, Jennifer Spiegel wrote a fabulous chapter entitled “Singular Bodies, Collective Dreams: Socially Engaged Circus Arts and the 'Québec Spring'” in the anthology "Cirque Global: Quebec's Expanding Circus Boundaries".

About the anthology:

Essays examine the innovative and influential circus scene as a creative, entrepreneurial, and cultural force that spans the globe.

With a billion-dollar industry centred in Montreal, the province of Quebec has established itself as a major hub for contemporary circus. Cirque du Soleil has a global presence, and troupes such as Cirque Éloize and 7 doigts de la main are state-of-the-art innovators. The National Circus School of Montreal - the only state-funded elite training facility in North America - is an influential leader in artistry and technique. Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil’s Cirque du Monde supports arts for social change on many continents and is renowned for its social-circus training and research. 

Cirque Global is the first book-length study of this new variety of circus and its international impact. The contributors offer critical perspectives on this rapidly developing art form and its aesthetics, ethics, business practices, pedagogical implications, and discursive significations. Essays explore creative, entrepreneurial, and cultural forces that are shaping Quebec’s dynamic nouveau cirque. Lavishly illustrated with photographs from circus performances, the volume showcases Quebec circus’s hybrid forms, which have merged the ethos and aesthetics of European circuses with American commercial and industrial creativity. 

Cirque Global is the definitive study of the phenomenon of Quebec circus and is an important model for future research on contemporary circus.


  • Spiegel Jennifer B. “Singular Bodies, Collective Dreams: Socially Engaged Circus Arts and the “Québec Spring.” Cirque Global: Quebec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries. Eds. Charles Batson and Louis Patrick Leroux. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. 2016.