Cirque du Soleil has arrived at Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre to prepare for upcoming performances of “Ovo,” a bug-inspired spectacle.
According to senior publicist Janie Mallet, the travelling crew consists of 100 people — more than half of whom are artists from 25 different countries — and around 100 more people are hired locally to set up the show.
“Ovo,” which isPortuguese for egg, is all about insects.
“We have have butterflies and crickets and spiders, but with the Cirque du Soleil twist, so very vibrant and colourful costumes, very whimsical” she said.
“‘Ovo’ really is a show for the entire family.”
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The show includes hand balancers, contortionists, musicians, a variety of different acrobatics, and more.
Live Cirque du Soleil performances were on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but “Ovo” returned to the United States earlier this year for a two-month stint in Los Angeles.
Now, the crew has arrived up north to start spring and summer performances in western Canada.
“Today is actually the first time the artists are coming back,” Mallet said on Tuesday.
“Being on tour again and being able to perform for an audience, and being around people is so amazing,” performer Zander Biewenga said.
“It’s just a whole different feeling of energy and community.”
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For Belgian tumbler Jorn De Lander, the travelling is a highlight.
“It’s really great ’cause I’ve never been in the west side of Canada, so looking forward to travelling around here,” he expressed.
While training in regular clothes for now, he’ll have to don a cricket costume come showtime.
“We have shoes to jump with, which are heavier. We have a headpiece, which is very constricting,” De Lander explained. “You get used to it and you have to adapt.
“It’s showbusiness, so it has to look good right?”
Despite the audience’s attention being focused on the stage, a lot goes on behind the scenes to make the magic happen.
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Jean Marc Perras has been with Cirque du Soleil for around 20 years.
As the show’s production manager, he knows just how much work it takes. The show travels with nearly 20 trailers full of equipment which takes about 12 hours to set up at each venue.
“We have around 19 to 20 people that are working the show itself, either from opening the traps, for the lights, for the sound, for the rigging making sure everything is clipped together,” Perras said.
“There are so many people working together to make things happen that you really don’t see.”
“Ovo” runs May 27-29 at the ENMAX Centre before heading to Medicine Hat.
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