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A Circus Finds a New Animal Trick: Holographic Lions, Elephants, and Whales

The French company L’Écocirque has found an ethical way to keep wild animals in its shows.

Bloomberg business news
Good Business: Holographic Circus Lands New Trick

L’Écocirque features all the awe-inspiring acts that audiences have come to expect under the big top—aerialists walking a tight rope, a juggler deftly keeping multiple pins in motion, and a burly man displaying incredible feats of strength. What makes it distinct is the innovative way it includes wild animals, despite widespread bans on their use in the circus. The trick? Instead of live animals, l’Écocirque employs holograms.

The French company’s “100% Humain” show, now on tour exclusively in France, showcases projected images of a lion, elephant, and even some beluga whales alongside its human performers, who are illuminated by a massive LED light display and accompanied by a live orchestra playing rock music. In one act, an aerial hoop performer is set against a backdrop of holographic planets that disappear to make way for a moon. “We didn’t want to simply make an animal-free show, we wanted a show with an extra something,” says co-founder André-Joseph Bouglione.