Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the circus…
I had my very first Cirque Du Soleil experience at the age of 9 and I still remember it so vividly – right down to the irrelevant details like leaving school at midday, getting treated with a Happy Meal (a very rare treat in our household!) and driving up to Perth still fully dressed in my school uniform. Irrelevant details aside, it was clearly one of those childhood experiences that had quite an impact on me! Cirque Du Soliel’s 1999 production of Saltimbanco changed the way I looked at circus’ forever, and it is probably one of the things that consolidated my love of performance, flexibility and dance so early on.
I swore to myself after that very first show that I would become an acrobat and tour with Cirque Du Soleil. I even made my parents purchase the souvenir video cassette so I could watch the contortionists over and over again, in the hopes I would learn some of their tricks. For years and years, and through show after show (I have only missed 2 of their tours!), I clung onto that hope – I mean, what child doesn’t dream of being in a circus, especially one with such amazing costumes, story lines, theatre and production. When I hit the age of 16 and realised I still hadn’t come even close to nailing a backflip (ahem, I hadn’t even attempted one), my dreams exploded in my face like a balloon full of glitter. It did however birth a new goal, a goal to make it to as many of the Cirque Du Soleil shows as I possibly could. Thus far, I have only missed two shows that have toured Perth, with Totem the latest notch on my belt.
In making my pact to get myself to all the shows I could, I have managed to rack up so many fond Cirque memories, of which I added to last night. If ever there was a Cirque experience 9 year old Mon wished she could one day have, going behind the scenes, meeting the performers and peeking at the costume department was it. Stepping foot into the performers sanctuary was like entering another world, a world I was totally in my element in. Behind the 2 hours of magic up on that stage are 46 performers and 66 crew members – real people – training, reviewing, packing down, stretching and shaking their things post-show to ‘Whip/Nae Nae’ (yep, they are real people too. P.S. What even is that song?!). After speaking to some of the specialists in the show, and taking a peek into the ridiculous makeup collection, it only put me further in awe of the production that is Cirque Du Soleil.
I have now come to terms with the fact that I probably won’t ever work for Cirque – especially after being told how cut throat it is to get a place on the touring team. Gutting, but I am a big girl. I guess I can take solace in the fact that I can now still enjoy the buzz and the magic of their performance, and make even more new special memories, every time they come to town!
Totem is showing at Belmont Racecourse until September 27th. Get your tickets for the show here, and make your own memories!