Artist Date: Cirque du Soleil

Did you know that to get into Cirque du Soleil, thousands of athletes, dancers, singers, and other performers audition to be added to a list candidates who might be invited to attend Cirque training camp in the future? And not everyone who gets invited to or completes training camp will get into a show. Candidates in training may or may not be cast, depending on their performance (i.e. if they survive the incredibly difficult camp) and on the show’s casting needs when they graduate.

This — shows comprising the best of the best — is why, in my humble opinion, Cirque du Soleil puts on some of the most impressive performances in the world.


This divine feeling is a wonderful reminder of all that’s achievable in this temporal world.

I was immersed in the performing arts long, long before I ever developed a love for the visual arts. I gave my first piano recital at age five, saw my first real theater show at six, and later (finally!) got cast in a community theater show (a very small part as a fortune teller, which I’m absolutely sure was due to my “exotic” race in my all-white town, and not so much with my acting ability…). Anyway, nothing excites me more than a live show and in this this case, it was Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk at the World Trade Center Dubai.

Toruk was based on Avatar and just like the film, it was visually stunning, vibrant, and the performers were, of course, spot on. But for the sake of my Artist Date, the thing I appreciated the most was simply all of the creative thought and skill that goes into a show like this. I thought about all of the people — writers, performers, set designers, costume designers, graphic designers, animators, musicians, composers, engineers, and more, more, more — who are so dedicated to the arts, to this show. (And believe me — you have to be absurdly dedicated, probably even obsessed, to be good enough to work with Cirque!)

Sitting there, center stage, enthralled and in complete awe of both the artists I was watching and the creatives behind the scenes, I felt so alive — with all of my senses stimulated at once, the energy was palpable. And that, making one feel alive, is exactly what art is meant to do. I don’t get this other-worldly sense of purpose and inspiration often, so when I do, I treasure it. The divine feeling is a wonderful reminder of all that’s achievable in this temporal world.

I should mention that this was my five-year-old daughter’s first time at a “grown-up” performance. Judging by the number of times she whispered, “Mommy, how did they do that?!” I think it’s safe to say that she too was awestruck.

And by the way, I answered her repeated question quite honestly: “It’s magic,” I said.

If you’re wondering, as I did, exactly what it takes for an aspiring performer to get into Cirque du Soleil, check out this documentary.

For more about Toruk specifically, and to learn more about its creation, check out its official website. The featured image on this post is from the official website.

Click here for more about my Artist Date series of posts.

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