Behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil

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Behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based theatrical company, has enchanted more than 100 million spectators on six continents since its inception in 1984.  
 
For the third time in that nearly 30 year history, Cirque du Soleil is coming to Louisville, this time with its production of Quidam. In Quidam, Zoe, a young girl, eschews her boring existence and inattentive parents by finding an imaginary world where she meets a host of characters who bring excitement to her life.
 
So just what is Cirque du Soleil? According to Jessica LeBoeuf, a traveling publicist with Quidam, Cirque developed its own new genre. “It’s a sort of contemporary circus without the animals. [The creators decided to] showcase the human body; dress it up in fancy costumes and makeup, and push the limits.” Cirque combines live music, theatre, dance and acrobatics. And though there is a storyline, there are no spoken words. Cirque stories “sound exotic and foreign to everyone; it’s an invented language,” says LeBoeuf.
 
What isn’t invented are the incredible feats of strength, agility and acrobatics, all performed without safety harnesses or nets, that leave spectators holding their breath.  Before an act makes it into a show, the troupe members practice hundreds—and thousands—of times, working to perfect the skills and committing the moves to muscle memory; because there is no room for error. Rehearsing with safety lines gives the troupe valuable time to develop trust and learn the movements of each other. “You can see how to react when it’s not perfect,” says Adrienn Banhegyi, who performs in the Skipping Ropes act of Quidam.  
 
And developing that trust is no easy task. The cast and crew of Quidam is comprised of people from 25 countries. “It’s a difficult issue because you work with people from different cultures. But with lots of practice, you get to know the other person from the littlest reaction and learn what to expect,” says Banhegyi.
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