Behind the scene of Cirque du Soleil at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The show nightly until Sunday, April 28th. Photo by Dean Birkheimer.

BY DEAN BIRKHEIMER | Go Venue Magazine

Skating was the vessel into which I could pour my heart and soul”  -Peggy Flemming

This is Cirque Du Soleil on ice.  Aerialist, acrobats, jugglers, ice dancers and dare-devil high jumping speed skaters. What else could you ask for?  The story follows a young girl named Crystal who while living in suburbia feels she doesn’t fit it and is not sure who she is.  She skates to a park where there is a pond and it soon begins to crack. She falls in and there she meets a reflection of herself who gives her a magic pen in which she can express her thoughts through writing. After a series of story-telling and phenomenal situations, which are all acted out by the Cirque Du Soleil cast, she returns to reality and back to her home knowing who she really is.

The set for this extravaganza was unbelievable. There is an ice palace where you can see several rooms.  There are inclines that fall from the palace and the ice itself is a canvas in which imageries, and concepts are projected from above. The sound system was thunderous, and the music included popular songs such as Sia’s Chandelier and Beyoncé’s Halo. There are also a few musicians, accordion, violin, clarinet and guitar, who are a huge part of the story telling.

The show ends when the cast comes out waving and bowing to U2’s Beautiful Day. The audience stands and waves back. The show is a blast and is in Omaha through the 28th. Tickets are available and I promise you there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

INTERVIEW With Touring Publicist Julie Desmarais
By Dean Birkheimer

Publicist Julie Desmarais, Photo by Dean Birkheimer

GVM: Where are you originally from?

Julie: I am from Montreal Canada and have been with Cirque Du Soleil for 9 years. I did two arena tours prior to Crystal: Dralion for five years and then Verekai for 2 years.

GVM: What did you see in your life, or what happened to you in your life that made you decide that this is what you wanted to do?

Julie: I’ve never been a person of routine, I love traveling, I did my first big trip at 15 where we had a culture exchange and I had an opportunity to go to France. From there I decided I wanted to work and travel as a combination.  About nine years ago an opportunity opened with Cirque Du Soleil and I had to grab it. It was perfect way to combine traveling and doing what I like to do. I basically joined the circus as everyone says

GVM: do you have any spots that you just love to visit?

Julie: So many places, Crystal is my 3rd tour and I’ve been so many places, I’ve returning to cities that I’ve been to in the past and seeing how things have changed. I’m a very curious person and love to explore them, especially coffee shops and art.

GVM: What about the show. Can you tell me what people will see?

Julie: Crystal is a great story. It’s about a journey of self-exploration. Crystal is a little different and is looking for her purpose. She meets different characters during her travels. This is the first time Cirque Du Soleil combines ice skating with acrobatics into one performance. It’s interesting because with skating u have the element of speed and emotion as well as the elegance. Then u have the gravity defying acrobatics combined into one. It’s a unique production that’s supported by projections on the ice.

GVM: Do you have any acts that are your favorite?

Julie: they’re all great. It’s hard to pinpoint but there are some big wow moments when Crystal flies on the trapeze 30’ off the ground.  The elements of speed during the hockey segment is also amazing. They bring in 8 ramps and you think you’re in a skate park. Another special moment is when Crystal is looking for love interest and she meets somebody and he comes down from the ceiling, it’s very touching.

GVM: How are the performers selected?

Julie: We have a casting team in Montreal. We never worked with skaters before, so we had to broaden our search. We were looking for specific elements but people who were willing to learn acrobatics.

GVM: Take a minute to tell us anything that’s on your mind

Julies: I think it’s an experience that we really hope the audience who attend will be able to escape from their day to day and enjoy real people doing un-real things.

GVM: Thank you for your time, I know you’re very busy

Julie: No, not at all.  Today you’re my date.

CIRQUE’s Behind The Scene Photos

All images © Dean Birkheimer
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