Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Tom Mould


Although the circus has been around for hundreds of years, it is still a large part of the entertainment industry that draws substantial crowds and interest. Cirque du Soleil— a Québécois contemporary circus— attracts a lot of attention because of its aerial and acrobatic performances. Fans can experience the circus in person at a performance, but they can also interact online by watching performers on social media. TikTok— a social media platform where creators share videos up to three minutes in length— is a great place for Cirque du Soleil performers to gain a new audience and interact with their fans. In this research, I sought to answer the following questions: How are Cirque du Soleil performers negotiating their self-identity on TikTok? What are the shared values of the Cirque du Soleil community on TikTok? How do the interactions between Cirque du Soleil performers and their followers further shape their community? Previous research focuses on why individuals join Cirque du Soleil but has done little to evaluate how performers construct a shared community ethos while expressing themselves individually. This research will do both within the context of interactions with their large fan base on social media.