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Edward Extraordinaire, a performer with Toronto-based Zero Gravity Circus.
Edward Extraordinaire, a performer with Toronto-based Zero Gravity Circus.

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Zero Gravity Circus lets clients call shots Add to ...

A: It’s absolutely critical that everything goes smoothly in live situations. There’s only one chance and it has to go perfect. What’s key is having very high quality artists and technicians, rehearsing, knowing what you’re doing, identifying what could go wrong ahead of time, and making sure that you’ve covered all your bases. At that point, you roll the dice a little bit because the circus is dangerous. There are accidents every year somewhere in the world. Luckily we haven’t had any bad ones. You just need to do everything in your power to create a situation where you have the optimal staging for the artists to perform.

Q: How critical is insurance for this business?

A: We’re insured up the yin yang. A huge portion of our yearly income goes into insurance. We work with some great insurance companies who trust that we’re safety conscious and we do absolutely everything to be safe. In any case where there’s the possibility of really dangerous falls, people are on a safety line or there’s a crash mat.

Q: Was Cirque du Soleil an influence?

A: Canada has a really great name in circus around the world and I have to give some credit to Cirque du Soleil for that. What Cirque du Soleil has done in North America is make a shift from American style circus to Canadian new circus, which is far more based on dance, music and the beauty of the circus rather than old-school shoot-the-guy-out-of-the-cannon thing. They do fantastic shows and we work with a ton of people who have gone through their programs. It’s been really positive for us. Every time Cirque du Soleil is in the news, it profits me as a business person because it brings more attention to the circus. And Cirque does a good job of staying in the news.

Q: Are you making a profit?

A: Yes, but most of it goes right back out the door to fund other projects, to create new things and hold up the community work that we do. We’re always creating new projects.

Q: What’s your advice to other entrepreneurs?

A: You can’t buy a reputation. You’re either honest or you’re not. Most people are really smart, especially the successful ones who are calling to hire you. Treat everyone with respect and they will do the same for you.

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