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Cirque du Soleil Returns to Rio Rancho

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They come from 25 different countries and they’ve traveled the world already. Now, they’re in Rio Rancho.

Cirque du Soleil’s show “Quidam” opened last night at the Santa Ana Star Center and continues through Sunday.

The 100-person troupe arrived on Monday in their 15-truck caravan packed with technical gear, costumes and all the survival items needed to support them on the road.

If you go
What: Cirque du Soleil: Quidam
Where: Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho
When: 7:30 p.m. today and Friday; 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday
Information and tickets: www.santaanastarcenter.com

This is the last leg of the North American tour for the show that has been running worldwide for more than two years. In August, they head to Europe, said spokeswoman Jessica Leboeuf, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, where Cirque du Soleil is based.

Cirque du Soleil has visited the Star Center several times, most recently with the show “Dralion” in early 2012.

“Quidam” tells the story of Zoé, a little girl on an imaginary journey where she meets a host of eccentric characters who help her return home and find happiness.

“It’s Cirque du Soleil’s take on an Alice in Wonderland type of story,” Leboeuf said.

After their seven-performance run in Rio Rancho, they head for a three-week tour of Texas.

Life on the road is challenging for the roughly 50 athletes who perform the elegant and sometimes heart-stopping gymnastics.

Leboeuf said they perform seven to nine shows per week during a 10-week tour schedule and train about three hours daily during performance runs. The show travels with its own sports medicine therapists and chefs who cater to their diverse palates and energy needs, Leboeuf said.

For 24-year-old Emmaline Piatt of Oregon, who performs the “cloud swing” act, whirling and twirling while swinging above the stage, the toughest challenge is adapting to the different venues.

Being a member of the troupe and performing before thousands of people was a lifelong goal.

“It’s a dream come true,” Piatt said in an interview after rehearsal before the Wednesday night opening show.

Her fellow performers come from as far afield as Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Australia. A panoply of flags from more than two dozen countries hangs over the rehearsal area where muscled young men practice tossing a cast member through the air, while another stands on one hand.
— This article appeared on page 17 of the Albuquerque Journal

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