This week I got a backstage pass to Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai! I got to go to dress rehearsal, interview one of the producers and most importantly, get a very up close look at the costumes. I am a HUGE Cirque fan so getting a little peek into their world at how things work and run is a special treat. Watching a seamstress add glitter to a costume, a baton artist warm up on the “blue mat” or an acrobat practice that one big trick numerous times doesn’t take away any of the magic. If anything, it give me a greater appreciation for all of the hard work put into these intense and enormous shows .
Luckily, I got to watch the most exciting act in the show rehearse, the Russian Swings. This act consists of two enormous swings, a giant column (that I assume is made out of whatever gym mats are made of) and two giant canopy-catcher thingys (that’s the scientific name). This performance took a year to create, BTW. Some of the male gymnast would wait on top of the column and others would swing below on the giant swings. Then, at just the right height, one of the swingers would somersault to the top and be caught in handstand position by another gymnast. It made my heart race, and though I watched it multiple times, I could not ever take my eyes away.
Julia, who helps run this enormous show, took some time to answer my questions and even humored me a little by laughing at my corny jokes. She did not, however, take my question about trying the Russian Swings seriously.
Me: So when do I get to try those? (Pointing to the acrobats flipping from swing to swing on stage)
Julia: (laughter) Never.
After our special up-close and personal show, we walked backstage to watch some performers prepare, stretch and practice their tricks. They were fun to watch, but I was super excited about getting up close to the hundreds of costumes, masks, headpieces and make-up trays. Soooooo pretty. You can just imagine my excitement when we were then walked to the costuming department! This is one room I have never had an opportunity to checkout at a Cirque show. Yay me!
The costume designer of this show wanted more than just skin-tight lycra suits. She wanted to add some dimension and texture to the costumes that isn’t seen in most Cirque outfits. I was drooling over all of the glitter, sequins and spandex. I could have watch those women work on costumes for hours. There are over 2,000 pieces of costume for this show and they are all custom-made for every performer. My first question was do they get to keep them when they leave the show??? Sadly, no, they don’t.
The backstage tour and interviews were great, but we got to see the show that night… that review of Varekai will have to wait till’ tomorrow! Spoiler: it wasn’t my fav Cirque show. Details to come!