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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: This Is How 5 Gymnasts Became Cirque du Soleil Artists! A Behind-the-Scenes Look at their Journey

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Ladies and gentlemen, Cirque du Soleil and 4U2C

are delighted to present the following performance

as a tribute to the athletes at these World Championships.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO THE EVENT

The 2017 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

are taking place at the Stade Olympique in Montreal.

Its a partnership between the Vice-President of Casting & Performance

with the International Gymnastics Federation.

Were gonna do a 12-minute show for two of their events. [ARTIST TRAINING DEPARTMENT]

Its gonna be starting with Marie-Linda Bluteau.

Shes gonna be doing a 5-minute presentation of sand painting.

Then that will be followed by a banquine act.

Its gonna be a sort of an interesting combination.

The main part will be the banquine act

with 6 of our artists that have been in training with us all summer

in a program that the Artist Training Department offers which is called PPP,

its the Program of Preparation for Performance.

How it worked is that these artists have been with us all summer.

We had a group of 12 artists doing banquine

and for the final part of the program with C:LAB,

which is Artist in Residence,

we had invited choreographer Sylvain Lafortune

who works primarily at l’École Nationale du Cirque,

and he choreographed an act for the 12 artists.

And when we moved forward with this project for the World Championships,

we kept 6 of those artists.

Actually, of the 12, 3 of them got contracts on one of our shows,

which is great news,

and then we asked 6 of them to stay for another 6 weeks to do this project.

And also, theres another element,

4U2C is gonna be doing video projections for the banquine act

and for the transition that we have between the 2 acts.

The first 2 weeks, the acrobatic coach Alexey Karulin,

he really wanted to come up with some new tricks,

new elements for this event

because the audience at the event, the gymnastic audience,

you know, theyre used to seeing certain figures, certain elements, certain tricks

and we wanted to kind of push the envelope

and see if we could come up with something new.

So Alexey spent the first 2 weeks trying to develop that

and parallelly, I was working with the artists,

doing some exploration of the artistic work.

First of all, I worked with them two months prior to this project

and after that I went home for a small vacation in my country.

And I had told them before I left

Be prepared, when I come back Im going to really break your brain

in the sense, like break your conception about the acrobatics.

One of the big challenges for me is how its gonna work

in the environment because were going into a sports environment,

the Olympic Stadium.

So its not a theatre or a Big Top where we have all the, you know,

the support of a real theatre environment.

So just how to make it look polished, professional within that environment,

thats a challenge, like how, what sort of lighting well be able to achieve.

So we have, you have to also have a certain openness towards that

and understand that thats kind of part of this type of presentation.

So thats one thing thats challenging

but Im sure were gonna find solutions with that.

I have a great team helping me so

Im sure were gonna come up with something beautiful.

We were taught something new and interesting.

It was very interesting.

Previously, I was doing a completely different thing, notBanqine ”.

I worked with a girl.

And here, “Banquineis something magical. I cannot even describe my emotions.

It is very encouraging that we have a chance to work with Cirque du Soleil.

That is, it is not a sport, there is a wider range of possibilities.

It seems to be motivating for achievements.

Today was a big moment for the artists

because they got to present to a big group

and they got to do it in costume for the first time.

So they were really hyped up for that, excited,

theyve been asking about the costumes like the entire week

When do we get to try on the costumes?”

andCan we warm up in the costumes?”

Which they did, and their shirts were like all sweaty and baggy

and wrinkled by the time they got to the presentation.

But thats OK, I think they were happy to do it

and yes, it was really nice to get some feedback

and you know, when youre working on a project, a small team,

you can be a little bit, you dont want to become narrow,

you want to keep it open.

So its great when, you know, theres more diversity in the teams.

So thats really nice to have that feedback

and we still have enough time to actually apply those notes.

If the show was tomorrow Id be really stressed with all those notes,

but we have a few days so,

you know, its also to balance that too,

like how much of that feedback do you take

without overloading the artists with too much stress

now as theyre coming down the finish line.

So we have to kind of, you know, juggle that and balance that

to make the right choices.

These artists, you know, they would like to have a contract with Cirque, you know.

Theyre here, theyve been here all summer working really hard.

Some of their colleagues did get contracts and left for one of the shows

and then these guys got this extra little contract of this project for 6 weeks.

So for them, its a great opportunity

to continue to show their, you know, show themselves.

Its also a great opportunity for them to learn

so that if and when they do get a contract with Cirque,

this experience will really serve them

because its really important to go through the creative process

and sometimes if you go on to a show thats already opened,

youre just thrown into the show

and you never go through the creative process.

So to actually experience what it is to put a show together

or create an act is a very good experience for the artists.

Itll really enrich their work as performers.

So it was a really, really strong moment.

I was very happy and kind of touched actually.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS A FEW MONTHS LATER

Well actually the journey has continued for these artists,

which is really exciting for them and for us. [ARTIST TRAINING DEVELOPMENT]

So after they did the PPP this summer, banquine PPP,

they did the World Gymnastic Championships at the Stade Olympique

and then they went home.

And actually it was really exciting,

a week later 2 of them got offered contracts on Amaluna

and the following week these 3 artists were offered contracts

for OVO so they came back to Montreal.

Theyve been with us for the last 7 weeks.

Were adapting the number, so theyre in the creative process.

Its an adaptation of an existing number

and theyve worked very hard and weve done their final presentation today.

So its very encouraging to see their evolution

and see all the process of learning

and experiences that theyve had over those last few months with us.

Yes, I became more open as an artist.

I mean it became easier, I became more open to the audience.

To express the composition more clearly, what I want to say, by movements, emotions.

When I got here one of the trainers Alexander Karulin

said to us that we would not be the same after all this time.

At first, I thought how is it possible?

But now after 4 months of training we are absolutely different persons.

Its amazing because if you had seen these 3 artists

when they were first starting last summer in acting class

and movement class, you know, theyve come a long way.

So its very gratifying for the coaches and to see that progress

and then to see the final product when theyre on stage

and theyre connecting with an audience and performing

and giving and, you know, entertaining people.

So its a very, you know, rewarding experience.

Well, when I come on stage I am recharging.

I am living with a stage, like when I go out there and I am a different person.

I am recharging from the audience.

Like I am not myself.

And when I leave the stage I am back to being myself, being human.

And also, now I see the circus as something different, as an art.

I mean I do not want just to show, but to create.

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