Whether Fernie, British Columbia, knows it or not, its entertainment scene has been taken up a notch by a fantastical group of corset-clad ladies. Originally commissioned to put on a circus-themed fundraiser for the local Avalanche City Roller Derby, the Circus Acts Insomniacs wooed and wowed their first audience in December 2013, and have since become a full-fledged performance group. Influenced by Cirque du Soleil, various dance styles and the Ringling Brothers, this troupe of seven has created an entirely unique show, complete with striped tights, garters, fake eyelashes and parasols. Their signature act, which combines a choreographed dance and seven LED-lit hula hoops twirling in synchronicity, leaves audiences awe-inspired. Think: Vaudeville meets circus meets Moulin Rouge.

When they aren’t stuffing dreadlocks into wigs under top hats, these talented ladies ski, bike, hike and absorb Kootenay life to the fullest. “We work when we have to,” says choreographer Megan Thiessen, of the massage therapists, servers, bartenders, seamstresses, and yoga and dance instructors who make up the group. Otherwise, these cool cats live to perform. Still feeling the supportive vibes from their electrifying performance at the 2014 Shambhala Music Festival in Salmo, British Columbia—their high point so far—the Circus Acts Insomniacs won’t be sleeping any time soon.


By Meghan J. Ward