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Backstage at Kurios

9 months ago by

Photos

Erik Melvin

,

Pia Moore

Earlier this month, after G saw (became obsessed with – and encouraged the rest of us to see) Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios, we published a story about the colorful show. Today, we’re back with part two! And this time we’re going backstage, where the cast and crew graciously welcomed us.

If ever there was a fear that seeing the behind the scenes would take away some of the magic, let me tell you, it only makes it MORE MAGICAL. Seriously – not only do you realize that these amazing acrobats are actually humans (I know, what else would they be? But still it’s unbelievable) but you see how much skill, dedication, and muscle, it takes to do the crazy things they do.

The cast and crew of Kurios is comprised of people from 15 different nationalities, some of whom travel alone, while others travel with their family. And they all do their own makeup. The shows of Cirque du Soleil run year round, and for as long as they can (sometimes up to 20 years), so you can imagine the bond that forms between them over time. Amid all of the different talents, languages, shapes, and sizes, it’s easy to see the camaraderie, support, and love that is shared.

So come along with us, as we see, explore and talk to the super-humans behind Cirque du Soleil.

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Anne Weissbecker

Where are you from?
I’m from France

How long have you been with Cirque and what is your role?
I’ve been with Cirque for 8 years. In Kurios I’m the Telegramist, I fly on a bicycle. Before that I worked in another show in Las Vegas, the Beatles Love for 5 years.

At what point in your life did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
When I was a kid. I started doing this when I was 11 and have always enjoyed it. I did some shows and performances when I was very young, so I knew I would be a performer, but I didn’t know if I could do just that.

What has been the biggest challenge of getting to where you are now?
I think it’s hard to get to a certain level, and once you get there you still have to work because nothing is guaranteed. If you really want to have a long career as a performer you cannot be lazy, you have to continue to push, train, and be consistent. I think that’s hard sometimes.

What were you doing before you joined the cast?
I was performing with another circus, the National Circus in Montreal, one of the top circus schools in the world. I had my own act that I was performing in Europe, mostly in Germany, Switzerland…and Canada.

What has been the most surprising thing about being in the show?
The family and being with people from so many different countries and backgrounds. In this show there are probably more than 15 different nationalities. Sometimes it can be hard because we all have different backgrounds but it’s so rich and nice and we can really share our experiences.

What would you be doing if you weren’t part of cirque?
I don’t know, I think I would be performing for another company. Before [Cirque] I was studying geography, so maybe something like that.

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Backstage at Kurios

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Ryan Murray
Where are you from?
I was born in Washington D.C., grew up in Maryland. I moved to NY when I was 18 to attend NYU and lived here on and off for about six or seven years. Now I’m full time touring, living wherever the tent is, with a week off in between each stop.

How long have you been with cirque and what is your role?
I’ve been touring with this show for a little over two years, and I’ve been doing circus for about seven. I’ve been with Kurios for three years – 1 year creating this show. 9 months putting it together, like the acronet and the other parts that needed to be built from scratch.

Can you describe your role in the production?
The acronet artists are what we call house troop – kind of like a Broadway company number, We end up having to do lots of cues, lots of different costumes, moving things on stage. I appear in a number of different acts in the show. Also, I get to understudy two roles: the clown role that does the invisible circus, and I also do the bourgeois who climbs the chairs. Even after 957 shows it’s still challenging and fun to do. Not even counting dress rehearsals.

At what point in your life did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
I dropped out of NYU because I wasn’t really finding a path, went to Maryland for a while studying kinesiology which was closer to what I wanted to do. But I really wasn’t clicking with school – so I was still training gymnastics, learning different acrobatic arts. One day I decided to do circus. I was about 21 when I made the decision.

What has been the biggest challenge of getting to where you are now?
I think the biggest challenge as an acrobat is learning to be an actor because gymnasts especially train so much on technique and skill but you don’t really think about presentation and what it means to be interesting to look at on stage. That was the biggest building block for me – learning stage skills and incorporating that into an acrobatic movement in order to be entertaining and present and communicating with the audience even though you’re doing something horribly dangerous.

Do you ever get scared?
For sure, a lot of times, but that keeps you safe. You’re scared for a reason. You never get too comfortable and never stop focusing. The net is so big and there are so many variables. Little things will change and you’ll notice them and that can scare you but you just have to keep calm and remember your training.

If you wanted people to know one thing about what you do, what would it be?
It’s the best job in the world. Not to brag but it’s such a cool life.

Backstage at Kurios

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Backstage at Kurios
Backstage at Kurios

Ekaterina Pirogovskaya

Where are you from?
I was born in the Ukraine and moved to Russia – to Siberia where it is so cold, and then I went to St. Petersburg for acting school.

How long have you been with cirque and what is your role?
In February it will be 6 years. This is my second show with Cirque du Soleil. My first was in LA, Iris. I am an actress, originally in theater. But I love Cirque du Soleil because it is a mix of circus and theater arts. I pantomime. Miming and physical theatre allow me to be on stage without words, because I came here not knowing English!

What has been the biggest challenge of getting to where you are now?
Hardest part is being so far from my family. But they support me, they say “You’re far, but it’s still one planet.” Also I didn’t know the language and couldn’t connect with people with simple conversation. This motivated me to learn English.

Biggest challenge of the show?
Its hard and important for each artist on stage to do their work every night like it’s the first time – with pleasure, good energy, and fun. A new audience every night helps. Imagine somebody came for the first time in their life to Cirque, what this person will feel and see and go home with, what feelings? To do this job like it’s the first time every night is a pleasure. Everyday you feel stronger and stronger. Yes, your body can be tired, but your soul and fire inside is always there.

If you wanted people to know one thing about what you do, what would it be?
The usual idea of a mime is one with white gloves and stripes, but it’s much deeper than that and it really touches your soul. You can understand that you have hard work inside of you, that you’ve spent soul and energy on your performance, and the audience can feel what you do. Every night people can come to the circus to see something new and special. They cannot feel what has happened, but they feel something good and that’s why they come back to the show, the theater, or the circus. Pushing yourself every day is an inspiration and forces you to be brave.

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Backstage at Kurios

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque_du_soleil_garance_dore_23

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Backstage at Kurios

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cirque_du_soleil_garance_dore_5

cirque du soleil garance dore photo

Kurios is now performing in Miami! Find info, dates, and tickets on their website.

12 comments

Add yours
  • This is enchanting! I’d love to see more stories like this one (I’d like to see a book, a film, whatever you want to make!). Magic, and yet so human.

  • These pictures are amazing x

    Jessica — NinetyCo

  • Lovely images that give us such incredible insight into this magical performing troupe.

    It was the very first Cirque show – La Nouba- over a decade ago, on a freezing winters day in Perth, Western Australia along the Swan River. From the moment the lights went down, and the tall, sombrely-suited headless man with his massive umbrella meanderd silently into the ring, and the opening notes of the musicians pierced the electrifying darkness, I wanted to be one of the live musicians – the keyboardist – accompanying the acrobats and mime artists.

    That show inspired me to go on to explore music performance and staging and costuming, and continues to make my heart sing. Love Cirque in all its forms so very much!

  • Lovely images that give us such incredible insight into this magical performing troupe.

    It was the very first Cirque show – La Nouba- over a decade ago, on a freezing winters day in Perth, Western Australia along the Swan River. From the moment the lights went down, and the tall, sombrely-suited headless man with his massive umbrella meanderd silently into the ring, and the opening notes of the musicians pierced the electrifying darkness, I wanted to be one of the live musicians – the keyboardist – accompanying the acrobats and mime artists.

    That show inspired me to go on to explore music performance and staging and costuming, and continues to make my heart sing. Love Cirque and its performers in all their incarnations so very much!

  • Hello
    ce post n’apparait pas sur la page d’accueil de la version française…

  • Hi Lucie,

    Our server is experiencing a technical issue which is causing this problem. Our developers are working quickly to solve this! Thank you for your patience. x Natalie

  • These pictures are wonderful and this is a fairy tale !!

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira December, 21 2016, 5:08 / Reply

    My God…What a Privilege and Delight to be around those AMAZING Artists must have been !!!

  • Sunny Side December, 21 2016, 10:58 / Reply

    Superbe reportage ! Photos&Interviews ! They have such amazing lives, they are so courageous and involved with their passion. Chapeau bas ! J’ai beaucoup d’admiration et d’estime pour la qualité de leur engagement et leur choix de nous émerveiller chaque nuit, malgré les risques. Vraiment bravo !

  • Great article. To find Cirque du Soleil shows and all other French-related events in the USA visit this guide: http://www.sorteer.com

    Cirque du Soleil musical is also playing to NYC: Paramour!

  • Discovering your blog, amazing photos!

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