My friend Marceline Goldstein ran the recent audition in Orlando, Florida.
… 16 hopefuls spent all day Tuesday showing off strength and flexibility skills, acrobatic skills (i.e. handstands), explosive power (i.e. flips), rope climbing, chin-ups, tumbling and trampoline work.
The day began with Goldstein asking the acrobats to demonstrate basic skills, such as cartwheels, backbends and front and back handsprings.
Watching closely was Matthew Sparks, head coach and dance captain at La Nouba in Downtown Disney.
“So far, I think there’s some good candidates,” he said. “Not just for ‘La Nouba.’ ”
But more than athletes, Cirque looks for artists, Sparks said.
For instance, take Krystian Sawicki of Poland. He portrays Titan, the swaggering strong man at “La Nouba.” Sawicki was an award-winning trampoline competitor. When he came to “La Nouba” in the role of Titan, he made it bigger than life.
“He’s not just an acrobat,” Sparks said. “He’s an artist. That’s what makes it Cirque du Soleil. People take it to a different level.”
Gymnasts give Cirque auditions a try – Florida Today
The newspaper also posted a video clip which provides a peek into the audition process.
I observed two other auditions recently in Las Vegas: acrobatic and “circus” run by Dana Brass. And I learned a lot.
Select high level acrobatic athletes are invited based on videos submitted to the company. With over 700 artists currently performing, and new shows in creation, Cirque is always looking for “talent”.
But what is talent?
I learned that you need extreme physical fitness to be considered. Best-in-the-world level strength or flexibility. Artistry is critical too. Great form and line. Showmanship is valuable. You should be one who likes to be on stage.
attempting 1-arm chin-up â€” photo by Craig Bailey
Unusual body types have always found a place in the circus. Very small acrobats are in demand. And very strong men and women.
Most hired are age-18-and-older, but younger athletes are sometimes invited to get them into the “system” for future consideration.
Tumbling specialists should be training double double, or preferably Miller, though most artists need basic tumbling.
It’s always best if the coach makes first contact with Cirque. If you have an athlete who might be interested, check the Cirque casting web pages.
Or check this list: Urgent Openings | Year-Round Casting.
It’s impossible to keep such a list completely up-to-date. Specialists on bars, horizontal bar and in-line skaters are currently being auditioned, as well.