Sponsored: Cirque du Soleil Presents Crystal—The First Acrobatic Performance on Ice

by | Mar. 01, 2019

Cirque du Soleil aims to surprise its audiences by pushing the boundaries of entertainment and creating productions that are unique and that blend various forms of art. With CRYSTAL, Cirque du Soleil explores the world of ice by combining its renowned acrobatics with skating in a unique way.

Directed by Shana Carroll and Sebastien Soldevila, Crystal, our misfit heroine, takes you on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her own imagination. Feel the adrenaline as she soars through this surreal world to become what she was always destined to be: confident, curious, and creative. CRYSTAL invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to colorful life with astounding visual projections and a soundtrack that seamlessly blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil. 

In CRYSTAL, gymnasts and skaters do acrobatics on the ice and in the air, melding both worlds together. Disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial straps, and hand to hand are fused together with disciplines such as synchro, freestyle, figure, and extreme skating on ramps, with a dash of all-out speed skating. Figure skaters learn to be pushers on Chinese poles, while circus artists learned to skate, and extreme skaters learn figure skating moves.

 CRYSTAL tours with 90 people from 22 different nationalities and includes 43 cast members from the worlds of figure skating, inline skating, ice cross downhill, gymnastics, music, and circus. Each had to learn something new to incorporate into their specialty either by learning how to skate (acrobats) or by learning some acrobatics (ice skater) to blend the two seamlessly together.

The Company Manager is the person who oversees all operations of a tour like CRYSTAL with the help of the Artistic director who is responsible for the artistic content and the Production Manager takes care of everything technical. The three work together very closely. The tour is supported by a Management team that takes care of bringing the cast and crew from city to city while making sure everyone travels safely.

It took months and months of preparation to create the show with the added challenge of bringing Cirque du Soleil’s signature style to the ice. Our production of CRYSTAL has been touring since October 2017. CRYSTAL travels to a different city every week. The touring crew is made up of 34 technicians with specialties in Automation, Lighting, Sound, Video, Carpentry, Rigging, and Wardrobe. It takes the crew approximately 16 hours to load in and set up the show each week. On the last day of the week, the crew will load out the show in approx. 4-hours.

The Artistic director takes care of everything related to the artistic quality of the show, oversees 43 artists as well as an artistic team of 6. In this team, the Stage Managers take care of all training and rehearsals as well as calling the cues for the show and running the backstage to ensure a smooth performance for all. There is also a Head Coach as well as 2 Artist coaches for Acrobats and 2 Artist coaches for Skaters who supervise the acrobatics and skating skills of all artists in both trainings and shows. We tour with two Performance Medicine Therapist who provide preventative strength and conditioning programs to the artists as well as working to help them take care of their day to day health. One of our Performance Medicine Therapist studied at the University of Utah.

Jaclyn Arduini completed a Masters in Exercise and Sports Science in Athletic Training and completed her Graduate Assistantship in Sports Club and Dance. When asked why she chose this University, she said: “I liked the layout of the program, the way it incorporated the classes and the graduate assistantships and the overall feel of the city.” She spent 2 years in Salt Lake and loved running around Sugarhouse and Liberty Park.

Once Jaclyn graduated from University, she thought she would end up working in a college or university setting but was given an opportunity to meet a recruiter from Cirque du Soleil, had an interview the same weekend, and soon after was on her way to Las Vegas. Jaclyn worked on “O” for almost a year in 2016 as a Resident Therapist. In 2017, Jaclyn interviewed for Cirque du Soleil’s newest creation on ice -  CRYSTAL. She was attracted to the variety of athletics in the Company and the ability to create connections in every city CRYSTAL performs in.

Jaclyn hopes that the audiences in West Valley City and the area get a chance to see and appreciate all the work that all the artists, crew and staff put into the show. It takes everyone in our touring village of about 90 people to make something like this come to life and everyone works hard to make it happen. 

The costumes were designed by Marie Chantale Vaillancourt. All artists (Acrobats and Skaters) wear three to four different costumes for each performance. Many of the artists have quick changes from one costume to the next with the quickest being under a minute. The costumes are equipped with full-length zips that run from ankle to ankle along the inside seam to allow the skaters to change without removing their skates. Magnets have also been used to enable quick changes between scenes. We can’t talk about costumes and skates without mentioning the special shoes created to allow the acrobats to run, tumble and perform their unique stunts on ice. These shoes have approx. 60 crampons each that provide the acrobats with the stability they need to perform on a slippery surface.

For students who would like to pursue this line of work. Jaclyn’s advice is “to try and have as many experiences with as many different sports or avenues of Athletic Training coverage as you can because you never know where you might end up.”

CRYSTAL will be at the Maverik Center for 6 shows only between Thursday, March 7 until March 10. For more information on the schedule and tickets.

More about Cirque du Soleil - CRYSTAL is Cirque du Soleil’s 42nd original production since 1984. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 180 million spectators in more than 450 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has over 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from 50 different countries.

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