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So for quite awhile, my only knowledge of Cirque Du Soleil consisted of the shows I saw in Vegas. You know, Mystére, Love, O, KÀ - all those shows you’ve heard of but probably haven’t seen. And before I had the pleasure of witnessing the magnificence that is a Cirque Du Soleil show, I wondered what all the hype was about. It’s called Circus of the Sun – how fun can a circus be, right? Well, that’s where I was 100% wrong. And lucky for you, you won’t have to make that mistake.
Chicago is getting a real treat this upcoming week as Cirque Du Soleil: Dralion is making a stop in Chi-city and treating us to a show that is unbelievably majestic. And lucky for you, we got the chance to speak with two of Dralion’s amazing talents, house troupe acrobat Guo Yuze and lead vocalist Agnes Sohier, just to give us the 411 on all things Dralion.
What we discovered from these Cheeky ladies is that the Cirque life requires dedication, passion and a little indulgence every once in awhile – all things Cheeky-approved.
Guo Yuze: First, I warm-up and stretch so my body is ready to go. Then, we’ll do a run through of the act before we go on stage or practice our Contortion or Diabolo acts. My schedule is about the same everyday. The schedule might vary a bit if I am doing back up for one of the other performers in the Goddess of Water (Oceane) role.
Agnes Sohier: For my voice, I always do a solid 30- to 40-minute warm-up before the shows. If Ifeel that my voice is slow or harder to open up than usual, I will spend a little more time on it. I have a vocal “routine” that I like, that works well for me, and matches what I have to sing in the show, so I mostly stick with it.
As far as keeping in shape, well, it changes often, and sometimes depends on the seasons! I love to play tennis and sail, ski and skate, swim and walk, and I am trying to get back into running, even with my knees being very picky these days! Basically, I like being active and am inclined to do outdoor activities.
Cheeky: Do you have a strict diet you have to follow to maintain your fitness? Are there any times where you can indulge? What is your favorite indulgence?
GY: I do follow a diet but not very strict! I try very hard to maintain good physical condition so I feel more confident. Sometimes, I will allow myself to forget about the diet. Last week, for example, we went into New York City and enjoyed some good Chinese food from a fancy restaurant in Times Square. I couldn’t help myself and ate a lot of meat!
AS: I don’t really follow a diet, and I try to eat healthy and consume fresh products. My palate and taste buds seem to prefer good food and good wine! I know my body enough to feel what works for it! Yes, chocolate and red wine are part of my daily diet! Indulgence? What is that?
Cheeky: How does this show differ from the other Cirque du Soleil shows – both in terms of the story and the artistry?
AS: Each Cirque Du Soleil show is unique. Each one has created its own personal identity or world. Each show has its own story to tell, characters to offer, acrobatic numbers to blow your mind, costumes, music, lights to bring you somewhere else! I don’t think you can really compare shows.
Cheeky: What is your favorite stunt to perform and why?
GY: My personal favorite is Diabolo (Chinese yo-yo’s). For me, personally, it’s the best act to show my charisma and my character. I get to show the audience how much I love to perform on stage and how proud I am of performing here.
Cheeky: Do the costumes make it more difficult to perform?
GY: Not at all! Our lovely wardrobe team always helps us to be more beautiful and shiny on stage.
AS: My costumes are very comfortable and don’t interfere with my singing. Even when I am suspended in the air with the restraint of a harness, it’s all good! If there was an issue, it would be looked at and fixed by all the talented, devoted and beautiful people working on the show.
Cheeky: Was Cirque du Soleil something you always pictured yourself doing?
GY: This is a BIG yes! I love Cirque du Soleil and don’t have words to say how much I am proud to be part of this big family.
Cheeky: What is the Cheekiest thing you’ve done this week?
AS: I’ve done so many Cheeky things this week, it’s hard to remember!
Want to see the amazingness and talent that is Cirque Du Soleil: Dralion? It’ll be playing at the United Center through Sunday, and that’s it. So get your tush of the sun to the circus.
(Photos by Daniel Desmarais; costumes by Francois Barbeau.)