The Cirque du Soleil is being given a run for its money by a new initiative created to help Northern youth find their creative spark.

Artcirq, a troupe from Igloolik, Nunavut, worked with Montreal’s Cirque Eloise to create opportunities for troubled youth to learn more about drumming, throat singing and many aspects of life as circus performers.

Led by co-directors Lucy Tulugarjuk and Guillaume Saladin, Artcirq’s recent visit to Montreal from October 30 to November 14 was the introduction to the big city for most of the performers.

Artcirq was born out of tragedy in 1998 when two Igloolik teens committed suicide.

Saladin was training with the National Circus School in Montreal, but was up north at the time. He, along with six circus buddies, created Artcirq.

The troupe is looking forward to the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards in Edmonton, where they hope to be one of the performers.

For now, however, they are concentrating on touring the Artie and lifting the spirits of Inuit youth. For more information, go to