Behind the Curtain

How does a Cirque du Soleil Artist prep before a show?

I’m excited to share my pre-show routine with every Cirque fan. As you may imagine, every artist has unique rituals of their own, comprised of physical and mental preparations to ready them for their show and crank up their confidence levels each night.  

I started performing with Cirque du Soleil over 10 years ago and have since been a part of 4 different shows (Viva Elvis, Corteo, Amaluna, and LOVE). My own pre-show routine has evolved immensely with each show, depending on the type of act I would perform in and how early in the show my act occurred.  

For the Las Vegas show I’m currently performing in, the Beatles LOVE, my primary act is high up in the air, on the aerial rope with my fellow “Gopis” and set to “Here Comes the Sun”. This act has contortion components because of the specific positions we’re required to execute, such as the lotus pose. Because of the intricate poses we must perform, this act requires the longest warm-up I’ve done to date. 

In the daytime, prior to heading to LOVE, I work as a Sports Psychology Therapist, holding virtual sessions with athletes and performers from all over North America. When I’m done for the day, I’ll usually cook up pasta as a quick lunch with avocado before heading to the Mirage Hotel. I use my 20-minute drive to the theatre to switch mental gears and focus on what I want to accomplish at work that night.

I arrive at the theatre about 4 hours before the show and set up my makeup station with new sponges and fresh towels. I change into my workout clothes and stretch before our training. This pre-show session gives artists the opportunity to work on anything we need to do so we feel ready for the upcoming shows. I usually start with my cerceau, run through some sequences, and play around with some new ideas. Sometimes, I’ll also hang the body loop to get some numbers in. From start to finish, this training only takes about an hour!

When I feel ready, I head back to the dressing room to get started on my makeup. I spend about 45 minutes getting a little more than halfway through my makeup, while snacking on my preshow protein bar and catching up with the girls. On a typical Monday, we tell each other what we did over the weekend. My favorite is hearing about the yummy food the girls had and what restaurants they tried. 

Two hours before the show, we gather for a bi-weekly meeting aptly called Tapis Rouge, where management updates us on anything noteworthy about our show, introduces new cast and crew members, and sharing any show notes. This also gives us the opportunity to ask questions or make our own announcements, such as upcoming fun events.

I then make my way back to the dressing room and spend another 30 minutes on the finishing touches on my makeup look — glitter, false eyelashes, lipstick: we’re pulling out all the stops! With my full face done, I can get started on my 40-minute preshow stretch. I will also do another 10 to 15 minutes of stretching during the show, right before my act. These last stretches consist of rolling my hips out on a lacrosse ball, pigeon stretches for days, splits, straddle, and half lotus variations. The training room is filled with a regular group of artists, so stretching almost becomes a social event for us! Side note, the cast of this show is absolutely awesome. I love working alongside this fun and friendly group that keeps me laughing. 

Thirty minutes before the show, our stage managers announce the details of what is going on in the show that night: it’s my cue to head back to the dressing room. I spend 10 minutes putting my hair in pin curls with a hairnet over top in preparation for the next step. My wig time is at 6:40, so I set out towards the wardrobe so our lovely team can secure my wig. Since nearly every artist uses a wig on stage, it’s like clockwork. Quickness and efficiency are the key to their success.

With my wig pinned on, I can go back to the dressing room to get dressed. I go down the hallway to grab my harness and read the show line-up. I double-check everything so that I know exactly which cues I’m in and where I need to be. I’m then bound for the basement, where a lot of us begin the show. I get my harness secured, put some rosin on my hands and I’m finally ready to start our beautiful show! 

I hope I was able to give you more insight into what makes up a Cirque artist’s pre-show routine!

Be sure to come to Las Vegas and see us perform in The Beatles LOVE and marvel at the magic of what unfolds on stage, 

Love, Alix

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