Artcirq: Circus Transforms Inuit Lives



Artcirq is Inuit and circus cultural fusion. It combines theatrics and gravity-defying arobatic circus technique with elements of Inuit tradition. The Igloolik community resides 200 miles north of the Arctic circle in Canada.

Inuit youth juggle pins, form human pyramids and perform gymnastics like back flips and hoop leaps -- challenging skills they learned from acclaimed Cirque Eloize performer from Montreal, Guillaume Saladin, who represented Nunavut as part of a 14-member ensemble at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The troop merges airborn artistry with Inuit traditions like music, drum dancing, and throat singing, which is also referred to as overtone chanting or harmonic singing.

Artcirq improves the lives of Igloolik youth and combats suicide by providing them with an outlet for artistic expression and physical activity.

The 2,000 residents of the Igloolik Canadian federal territory are scarred by poverty and high suicide rates that exceed the nation's by 10 to 12 times. For many, participating in the circus empowers their lives.

"My life got brighter when I joined the circus because I had stuff to do," Igloolik high school student Reena Qulittalik told The Christian Science Monitor.