Last week, we had the pleasure to work with 90 Cirque du Soleil cast members over two days at their home in the Bellagio theatre Las Vegas. We watched them perform in the show which was breathtaking and their talent unbelievable~ diving from 100 feet up, swinging from the high trapeze and a school of synchronized swimmers all perfectly pointed and dynamic. The show was beautifully packaged in stunning scenery, moving floors, a huge 18 foot deep pool, and moving music and theatrical expression.
Thanks to director, Luke, the full cast of 90 acrobats, divers, trapeeze artists and syncronized swimmers in the cast of ‘O’ had the opportunity to experience an intense 4 hour workshop in the Franklin Method where they learned about their bodies and how to take care of them. It was astonishing, despite their incredible skills, that they lacked basic know-how and awareness of the function of thier bodies and how to take care of them. Eric started by asking them how they would like to end their career~ either by them deciding to do something different, or by injury. Obviously they all wanted the first, but despite that, they all expressed aches, pains and injuries in many of their body parts- especially spine, pelvis and knees.
We looked at the pelvis and spine and embodied it’s function, so that they can actually start to use it as it’s designed rather than wearing it out due to mis-use. Even though the performers can do incredible feats with their bodies, the fundamental understanding of movement and simple awareness was very compromised. It was a new perspective to be able to achieve the same movements with less stress and resistance.
In each session, we opened the second half of the workshop with teaching them how to balance their cortices. Both times, the artists were immediately more able to concentrate and be present in their bodies. they expressed feeling more centered, relaxed and present. There was a huge shift in the energy of the whole room, and they were able to stay far more present for the second section of the workshop.
These performers do 478 shows per year, and so their schedule is incredibly intense. Even this workshop was long for them to give their time to, but the response was so positive and full of appreciation and insights. It was an honor to work with these incredible people, and we look forward to doing more work with them.
One of their favorite parts was rolling on the Franklin balls and releasing tension all over their bodies. As they are able to give back to themselves rather than always being ‘outward’ and performing for others, they said that they started to feel the magic in their own movements again, rather than being lost in the spectacle of a magical show.