Its been about 9 years but I had a few dates with a cirque du soleil acrobat, but he did not talk much about it. I had a feeling though like it was very competitive and the performers have a lot of uncertainty about their employment security. Also, I dated for half a year a cirque du soleil dancer who had just returned from a performing in Vegas over several months. He said the employment contract is longer than War and Peace. The acrobats are at the top of the pecking order and look down on everyone else. After bodies are spent they are replaced by new talent very quickly, which is what happened to him. Brutal injuries happen on stage during live performances but using the mastery of illusion the audience never sees it. Nevertheless, both of these guys loved their time there, and would not trade it for anything. It is a life only for the strong and the exceptionally talented.
There are several circus schools in Montreal that have events at reasonable prices or for free. From 4-15 July there are dozens of things going on. http://montrealcompletementcirque.com/en/calendar