Tuesday, December 2, 2008
All Access: Cirque Du Soleil
They perform around the world to millions of adoring fans. Now Cirque Du Soleil is back in South Florida, but it takes a lot more than what you see on stage to make the show come alive each night. Seven's Dave Kartunen gives us an All Access pass behind the scenes of the big top.
WSVN -- It's called Corteo, Cirque Du Soleil's latest show to light up the Magic City.
Now let All Access show you everything you don't see if you just buy a ticket. Under the big top, Cirque Du Soleil is a self-sustaining international village, with performers from 17 countries.
Duke Van Vleet, Corteo Performer: "We have Romania, Japan, the Ukraine, France, Brazil."
Duke Van Vleet: "You pick up a little bit of everyone's culture."
The cast has their own workout area, makeup rooms, even their own personal chef.
Duke Van Vleet: "It's very much a family, and we rely on each other for the energy we bring on stage."
In one case, they're literally family performers. Tacia and Duke Van Vleet are also husband and wife.
Tacia Van Vleet: "It's actually a really big blessing for us to work on the same show but not exactly do the same thing."
But before the artists can do their thing, an army of 90 support staff sets up two-and-a-half million pounds of equipment, top to bottom.
Andy Noda, Stage Manager: "You are underneath the stage of the good old show, Corteo."
Ever wonder how the performers pop up from under the stage?
It's a little tougher than this.
Five stories up, there are enough moving parts to make your head spin.
Oh, wait, that's the point, isn't it?
Andy Noda: "Consisting of 70,000 pounds of steel, this stage is part of the largest traveling set in show business."
Brussels-born rigging director Vincent Chombordt oversees the safety in every performance, but only after he sets the whole thing up.
Andy Noda: "We'll move it to the next city and reset it within an eighth of an inch, believe it or not. We're really, really hi-tech. I think Cirque has developed and pushed the envelope."
3-D schematics on computers, safety tests and maintenance gets done daily on equipment that can send performers falling faster than gravity itself.
Dave Kartunen: "Are you the most trusted man in the production?"
Vincent Chombordt: "Yeah, I hope so."
Andy Noda: "The show should look and be easy."
But it's the little details that set Cirque apart, and trust us when we say none of it is by accident.
Jason Brass: "Each costume is hand-dyed and painted, specifically made for each artist. The shoe is made specifically for each artist."
Jason Brass: "Our studio takes over 300 measurements on the body."
Jason Brass: "There are approximately 3,500 costume pieces used here on Corteo. Approximately 350 pair of shoes."
Jason Brass: "It takes two girls, eight hours a day to iron the show."
Now that you've seen it, the end result may even be more magical when it all lights up under the big top.
Jason Brass: "Everyone's working together to make the show successful for the people who come to see it, and it takes a large group effort."
Corteo has been such a hit with fans, they have extended the show's run through Dec. 28.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Cirque Du Soleil