FORT MYERS, Fla.- A weekend of body bending, high flying fun is in store at the Germain Arena. Cirque Du Soleil's Alegria kicks off Wednesday night. WINK News' Lauren Pastrana got a sneak peek.
Alegria is one of Cirque Du Soleil's longest running productions.
"It's opulent style," Artistic Director Tim Smith said ahead of Wednesday's rehearsal. "It is like none other. It's a beautiful show. It's an emotional show."
The show tells the story of youth and age, power and weakness, through music and movement. There's contortion, knife dancing, trapeze flying and hand balancing.
"The artists have amazing backgrounds," said show publicist Genevieve Laurendeau. "Some are former Olympic performers, some are national champions." They all spend at east 5 months training in Montreal. The training includes extensive make-up tutorials. Each performer is responsible for applying their own make-up for each show, a process that can take up to 45 minutes every night.
Tyler Block is a former college gymnast, but now he wows the crowd on the cyr wheel, a steel ring that he makes look graceful and lithe.
"I learned in six months and took it on the road. I have an area backstage to build my skills and develop the act," Block said.
He is one of 55 members of the traveling troupe of acrobats and musicians.
"We scour the earth to look for these people and so once they sign on, they really do commit everything they have," said Smith. The group commits to months on the road, some of them with their families in tow. The show travels from city to city in 18 semi-trucks containing 500 costume pieces, lights, the stage, training mats and equipment, catering supplies and even laundry service.
Performers say they take their entire lives on the road, and it shows.
"You'll be blown away by the artistry, the magic and the skill you'll see on stage," explained Laurendeau.
This week's performances will be the last for the tour in North America. The performers will be traveling across the Atlantic for scheduled shows in Germany, Austria and Spain later this year.
There will be eight performances through Sunday. Tickets are still available. Wednesday's show starts at 7:30.