Allegria comes to Gulf Coast
Apr 21, 2011
BILOXI, MS (WDAM) - It's not your average big top circus. The acrobats in the Cirque Du Soleil show, Alegria, come from extensive gymnastics and balancing backgrounds in order to be a part of the show that tours around the world.
From flipping and flying to playing with fire with their feet, the performers only get one day of rehearsal in each city before the gates open. 4 days, 8 shows, and hopefully, zero mistakes.
Artistic director, Tim Smith, says their extremely athletic performers are well taken care of to assure their safety. Smith said, "What these people do and provide for the audience nightly in front of your eyes takes quite a lot to maintain." Surprisingly, Smith says they haven't had any major accidents on stage. And with the amount of risk each performer takes, either flipping on a narrow trampoline over other people, flying 40 feet high without a harness, or doing a one-handed balancing act five feet in the air, upside down, keeping in shape is necessary.
Fernando Dudk got started in gymnastics at a young age, and says it's just another day at the office for him. Dudk said, "At the beginning it's very exciting, but after doing it for eight years, it becomes casual, it's my work, you know, it's my life, doing this." Dudk says touring with a group of acrobats and performers like himself, but from all over the globe, brings each of them closer together, saying, "It's like a big family, there's some ups and downs, like, we get to really know each other, and some conflicts come and go, but it's never too big, there's never problems about people getting really bad to each other, it's fun. It's a good group."
ALEGRIA PART TWO:
To pull off a show that's known for being nearly flawless across the world, there's a lot that goes into it. Shocker, right?
From the five months of training each performer goes through before the tour, to the strength and agility training at each venue, then on to costumes and makeup, everyone that works at alegria agrees that it's all in the details. Amy Brown is in charge of making the performers comfortable in costume, and staying very precisely true to the show's original theme. She said, "The show was designed by a woman named Dominique Lemieux, and it is our responsibility to make sure that all of the costumes that go on stage are true to her design, so everything from tightening loose buttons, to this one, getting it's tail repaired."
The show itself, called, "Alegria," is the Spanish word for joy, and that's what Tim Smith said they want each person in the audience to feel when they leave. Smith said, "Whether it's the first time or they've become a fan and they see them often, is, you'll see something you've never seen before." And with the amount of high flying acrobatics, like the Russian bars, the Power Track, Flying Man, or your standard trappeze, there's really not a bad seat in the house.
For safety reasons, some of the performers wear their costumes both in rehearsals and on stage, so the cleaning and repairs can get extensive. Amy Brown, a wardrobe assistant for the show said, "We do a lot of wash. We do 10-15 loads of wash a day, depending on whether it's a one or two show day."
And when it comes down to it, every little detail makes Alegria one of a kind, and a show that you don't want to miss.