Working with Cirque du Soleil

Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2010 - 1:47pm By: Alice

No doubt about it, the best job I’ve ever had has been working with Cirque du Soleil. Four times.

People are often impressed that I have worked with Cirque du Soleil. I tell them don’t be impressed that they hired me the first time. After all, the first time they didn’t know what they were getting. Be impressed that they hired me the second. And the third. And the fourth time.

What is it like working with Cirque du Soleil? It’s definitely different. First of all, the sessions are usually for 20 minutes, not the usual hour in the office. This means that you need to get right to the point quickly. Secondly, these are world class performers who put incredible demands on their bodies and need to stay in top shape to perform. They need massage that is effective and efficient.

The combination of Russian Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy that I rely on, coupled with years of experience, works well for them. I love the challenge of trying to meet their needs in the short time I have and they really appreciate my expertise.

I’d had considerable experience with elite athletes and performing artists before Cirque du Soleil, but my first day with them was an adjustment. Most of the performers are gymnasts of one sort or another. They are muscular but small and lean, very different from the generally larger athletes I was accustomed to. In addition, many did not speak English! My first client spoke only a few words of English. Fortunately, I’ve traveled in a number of foreign countries and have had experience in communicating with people whose language I do not speak. I learned about eight words of Chinese and relied on hand gestures, pantomime, drawings, etc., to determine exactly what each person wanted and needed.

I loved being able to work the way I’ve been trained to work. Working quickly and working in a very results-oriented manner is something I excel at. It was very satisfying to be able to meet their needs.

Performers for Cirque come from all over the world. They are a fun and interesting population to work with. It’s a joy to be able to work so creatively and to be part of such a creative endeavor.

If you’ve ever seen them, you know that they perform amazing feats and do it with a grace and artistry that’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen. After working so closely with their bodies, I had even more of an appreciation for their strength and skills when I would watch them perform.

I had the privilege to work twice with one show so I was familiar with about half the performers when they returned. It made me feel good when two African brothers walked in and greeted me in their beautiful West African French accents, “Ah, Alice, we are so glad to see you! You are the best of them all!” I feel the same way about them, too.