Adriana Acosta

by Adriana Acosta

It is a performance that many have enjoyed throughout the world. They are known for their acrobatics, high power, upbeat performances. Tonight, Cirque du Soleil will open a five-day run of “Saltimbanco,” a show filled with juggling, bungees, dance and trapeze, at the Dodge Arena.

Saltimbanco can be compared to a big top circus performance, minus the animals. It brings the audience into a journey of a dream-like performance of music and dance. Performers dress in exotic costumes, heavy artist makeup and dance on stage, jump high in the air or perform aerial ballet.

Their visit will include seven performances in their weeklong stay.

“Saltimbanco” - from the Italian “saltare in banco,” literally means “to jump on a bench” began in a tent in 1992. It was then reconfigured and expanded for hardtop (arena) venues.

“Saltimbanco” is a Cirque du Soleil signature show that travels the world, brining live shows that combine music, dance and theatre with acrobats. A total of 51 high level acrobatic dancers make up the group that has visited more than 40 cities this year.

With the help of over 80 crew members, 12 semi-trailer trucks to carry a total of 270 tons of equipment, the production is brought to life in each city they perform. Crew technicians take over eight hours to setup the stage for the night’s performances.

For the performers and crew, life on the road brings excitement with each different city they visit. The cast gets two days off before performances and use the time to relax and visit the city.

“It is exciting for them to go from city to city. They can get in a car and go to the city and explore it,” said road manager Michael Veilleux who manages the Saltimbanco team on the road. “It is a good balance to relax and visit different places,” he said.

The acrobatic dancers that make up Saltimbanco arrive to each venue by air travel or bus, depending on the location of the next city.

“If the city is more than 500 kilometers (310 miles), we fly performers,” Veilleux said.

And eating habits do not change when performers are on the road. Veilleux said they have a catering crew and a nutritionist on the road that provides healthy meals for them.

“With eight performances a week, they keep fit in that way. But when they have days off, they train in the hotel gym or local gym,” Veilleux said.

Performers come from 40 different countries including the U.S., China, Mongolia, Europe and Canada. Throughout the year, they have casting calls around the world. A performer can also upload an audition clip on their Web site. Once a dancer is picked, they are invited to Montreal, Quebec (Canada) for three months where they will get intensive dance and acrobatic training at the Creation Studio, if successful the performer is invited to join.

The company has almost 4,000 employees from over 40 different countries, including 1,000 artists.

Valley performances are scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 17; Thursday, Dec. 18 and Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $95 - $75- $60 - $40. For ticket information go to www.ticketmaster.com or www.dodgearena.com.