Cirque auditions Young gymnasts answered the call for auditions for Cirque du Soleil at the Burlington BG's gym Saturday.
Cathie Coward/The Hamilton Spectator
Sun Jul 22 2012
Ali Dings is running away with the circus.
First she has to make the cut, but if she lands a gig with Cirque du Soleil she says it’s an opportunity she would never pass up.
Dings and 25 or so other cirque hopefuls showed off their moves during open auditions at Burlington B.G.’s Gymnastics Club on Maple Avenue Saturday.
The audition was open to all types of performers.
“There was a dancer, a guy whose specialty was in martial arts. Most of us are power tumblers,” Dings, 19, said.
Back-handsprings, round-offs, whips — the whole shebang.
“In open auditions it’s always a surprise,” says senior acrobatic scout Marceline Goldstein.
It’s a tight community, the acrobatic world, so they often have an idea of who will bring what. But she was pleasantly surprised Saturday, she says.
They are casting not for any specific role or show. Cirque has 20 shows, so Goldstein said they are always looking for replacements and new talent.
Dings has been tumbling for nine years, but stopped competing last year after an ankle injury. But after a year of R&R she’s been training and is ready to roll again — literally.
“I thought, you know what? I took a year off. I rested. I slowly started training again and this would be a great thing to do now,” she said.
She received an invitation to the audition, and drove in from Belleville to give it a shot. With her competitive background, the intense training would be no shock to her system.
“In cirque you are working on bouncy tracks. It’s intense, but it’s just easier on your body than a hard floor,” she said.
She’s been accepted into the kinesiology program at the University of Waterloo in September, but is crossing her fingers to be able to put that off for a year.
Goldstein said that cirque is very often a transition for athletes from sport to stage. They work with a number of collegiate gymnasts who have competed internationally.
But once they hit the top of their game, cirque offers them a career after that.
Jonathan Meehan, 19, has always been fond of the stage part of gymnastics.
“It’s always been my dream, I just love performing,” he said. The Burlington teen has been tumbling for five years and trains in Oakville, but has performed in the past with Stoney Creek’s Zacada Circus School.
“Even just fooling around at practice, making people laugh is so much fun,” he said.
Even at 19, he’s got it figured out. His long-term goal is to become a therapist for Cirque du Soleil. He’s hoping to study athletic therapy — after making the cut for a part in the show, of course — to begin his lifelong affair with the circus.