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Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within
Also known asFire Within
The Fire Within
GenreTelevision documentary
Written byLewis Cohen
Cleo Paskal
Directed byLewis Cohen
Bachir Bensaddek
Jason Breckenridge
StarringKevin Atherton
Andrew Atherton
Ashley Beaver
Gareth Hopkins
Raquel Karro Oliveira
Oleg Ouchakov
Olga Pikhienko
Stella Umeh
Narrated byChristopher Dyson
Opening theme"Icare" by René Dupéré from Alegría
Ending theme"Varekai/Vova" by Hélène Dorion and Violaine Corradi from Varekai (episodes 1-3, 6-9, 11-12)
"Ussa Sa" by Acquaragia Drom (episode 4-5)
"Octavio Jug" by Violaine Corradi from Varekai (episode 10)
"Patzivota" by Violaine Corradi from Varekai (episode 13)
"Ombra (Ibizarre Remix)" by Violaine Corradi and Hélene Dorion/Lenny Ibizarre (special)
Composer(s)Anthony Rozankovic
Daniel Toussaint
Country of originCanada
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes13
Executive producer(s)Arnie Gelbart
Marie Côté
Vincent Gagné
Producer(s)Sylvia Wilson
Martin Bolduc
CinematographyYoan Cart
Peter Krieger
Andrei Khabad
Editor(s)Jean-Marie Drot
Maxime Chalifoux
Vidal Beïque
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time23 minutes
Production company(s)Cirque du Soleil Images (Créations Musca)
Original networkBravo (United States)
Global Television Network (Canada)
Ici ARTV (Québec)
Picture format1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Dolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseSeptember 16 – December 9, 2002[1]
November 2, 2004 (special)[2]
Related showsSolstrom
External links

Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within is a 2002 Canadian reality television mini-series. The series follows eight Cirque du Soleil performers during the creation and production of the Cirque's touring production, Varekai. Stress ensues as several newcomers try to learn new acrobatic acts for the show, while the subplot also follows the crew behind the show trying to cast new performers, advertise the production, create the stage set, costumes, and make-up, and manage the show under the direction of newcomer Dominic Champagne.

Fire Within originally aired in thirteen 23-minute episodes weekly between the course of September 16 and December 9, 2002 on Bravo. The miniseries was filmed primarily in Montréal, largely at the Cirque du Soleil headquarters and the Old Port of Montréal, as well as New York, Dallas, London, Paris, and Sofia.


Fire Within maintained an ensemble cast of performers chosen to be a part of the original cast of Varekai. The camera crew documented not only these performers' work during production of the show, but also their personal lives which often got in the way of their work. The performers came from a variety of different backgrounds, some experienced Cirque du Soleil performers, and others not.

  • Oleg Ouchakov – a Cirque du Soleil veteran who joins the cast of Varekai to develop an acrobatic pas de deux with his dance partner, Tatiana.
  • Stella Umeh – an Olympic gymnast who joins the cast to perform in the triple trapeze, an act which she is unexperienced in.
  • Olga Pikhienko – a young contortionist who leaves Quidam to become a lead in Varekai.
  • Raquel Karro Oliveira – a skilled trapeze artist who is part of the triple-trapeze act with Stella.
  • Ashley Beaver – an acrobat who arrives to Cirque as a newcomer with his acrobatic partner Gareth to develop an Icarian games act.
  • Gareth Hopkins – an acrobat and Cirque du Soleil newcomer who arrives along with his acrobatic partner Ashley to develop an Icarian games act as well as the character of the "Lizard".
  • Andrew and Kevin Atherton – identical twin brothers who develop an aerial straps act for the show, as well as participate in much of the show's promotion.

Recurring cast

Many artists and crew behind the production are featured throughout the mini-series.

  • Adrian Berinde — a Romanian singer hired as a primary singer, only to be laid off ten days before the premiere, having had difficulty settling into a role.
  • Dominic Champagne — Varekai's director and Cirque du Soleil newcomer.
  • Louise Mercier — head of the Cirque du Soleil marketing department.
  • Adrian Porter — Gareth and Ashley's acrobatic coach.
  • Boris Verkhovsky — Varekai's primary acrobatic coach.
  • Michel Laprise — a talent scount for Varekai.

Broadcast history

Fire Within consists of thirteen half-hour episodes with commercials, originally premiering in the United States on Bravo in September 2002. The episodes were aired in the intended order weekly until December 2002 with the conclusion of the mini-series. A 23-minute cast reunion special was released on November 2, 2004 on the DVD release.

Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "New Arrivals" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen September 16, 2002[1]
Artists from around the world arrive at the Cirque du Soleil headquarters in Montréal. They are quickly introduced to their new realities. Will everyone be able to adapt to this challenging environment?
2 "Behind Closed Doors" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen September 23, 2002[1]
The characters' stories unfold as the focus turns to their personal lives. Gareth is already on his way back home to England. Does he plan on returning to Cirque du Soleil?
3 "The Rise and Fall of the Trapeze" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen September 30, 2002[1]
Artists prepare their acts for the first presentation to the creative team. Stella and Raquel's act is the unfortunate focus of the team's attention.
4 "Shooting Stars" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen October 7, 2002[1]
It is officially time for the artists to join Cirque du Soleil. Kevin and Andrew question certain clauses in their contracts and hesitate before signing.
5 "The Holiday Season" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen October 14, 2002[1]
The holidays bring a more intimate look into the characters as they reflect on their lives and relationships outside Cirque du Soleil. Meanwhile Olga, a world-renowned equilibrist, is offered a starring role in the show.
6 "New Year, New Blood, New Challenges" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen October 21, 2002[1]
For the first time, the entire cast in assembled. Adrian, a Romanian singer, as well as several world-renowned artists join the team. Competition intensifies as egos are challenged.
7 "Pushing Acrobatics" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen October 28, 2002[1]
Everyone feels the pressure throughout the endless training process. Insecurities are revealed as the characters push themselves to meet individual expectations. Raquel and Stella's act is yet to be approved.
8 "Moving On" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen November 4, 2002[1]
Construction of the Grand Chapiteau is underway. Gareth and Ashley are stressed as they are told that they are on the verge of being replaced.
9 "The Grand Chapiteau" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen November 11, 2002[1]
The first rehearsal under the blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau takes place. The artists must adjust to this new environment. Kevin and Andrew provide a preview of the show at the official press conference.
10 "The Lion's Den" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen November 18, 2002[1]
Excitement is in the air as the artists perform in front of a live audience for the very first time. Nonetheless, devastating news awaits several of them. Who will be cut and who will stay?
11 "Countdown to Premiere" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen November 25, 2002[1]
As tensions mount even higher, the last dress rehearsal is performed. Last-minute changes are made. Will Olga meet expectations in a lead role?
12 "Opening Night" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen December 2, 2002[1]
Journalists, photographers, and special guests attend the world premiere of Varekai. How will the new show be received?
13 "The Aftermath and Departure" Lewis Cohen Lewis Cohen December 9, 2002[1]
A series of dramatic adjustments are imposed. For some, it's the end of a dream, for others they are entering a new world that holds discovery, difficulty, and excitement.


Title Directed by Original air date
"Reunion" Adrian Wills November 2, 2004[2]
The cast of Fire Within get together again to reminisce, bring each other up to date on their lives, and have a day of fun.


Fire Within received positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave an audience approval rating average of 93%.[3] The website IMDb (Internet Movie Database) gave the mini-series an average score of 7.8 out of 10.[4] Virginia Heffernan of Slate[5] and Tim Goodman of SFGate[6] both gave the series positive reviews.


The mini-series won the 55th Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Program (Alternative), as well as two Gemini Awards.

Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
55th Primetime Emmy Awards[7][8] Outstanding Nonfiction Program (Alternative) Christian Barcellos, Martin Bolduc, Marie Côté, Vincent Gagné, Arnie Gelbart, Amy Introcaso-Davis, and Sylvia Wilson Won
18th Gemini Awards[9][10] Best Direction in a Documentary Series Lewis Cohen Won
Best Reality Based Entertainment Program or Series Marie Côté, Vincent Gagné, and Arnie Gelbart Won


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within: Episode Guide". MSN.
  2. ^ a b "Cirque du Soleil - Fire Within (TV Series) (2002)".
  3. ^ "Cirque du Soleil - Fire Within". Rotten Tomatoes.
  4. ^ "Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within". IMDb.
  5. ^ "Cirque du Soleil vs. reality". Slate. March 6, 2003. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "Bravo special puts spotlight on Cirque du Soleil". SFGate. January 6, 2003. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "Cirque Du Soleil Fire Within". Emmy Award. 2003.
  8. ^ "The television documentary series "Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within" nominated for Primetime Emmy Award". Cirque du Soleil. 2003.
  9. ^ "2003 Gemini Awards". Gemini Awards. 2003.
  10. ^ "Documentary TV series "Cirque du Soleil: Fire Within wins two Gemini Awards". Cirque du Soleil. 2003.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 November 2018, at 21:33
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