ALEGRIA Q&A With The Artists From Cirque du Soleil

Hi, Cirque du Soleil fans! My name is Francis Jalbert and
I’m the Senior Publicist for Alegría. Welcome to the artistic
tent of the show. We’re now in the Old Port
of Montreal, in the last stretch of rehearsals and
preparations for the world premiere. And today we have with
us the originals, so Émilie Therrien, who is the Acrobatic
Performance Designer and Choreographer, Elena Lev, who is the
hula-hoops artist and One Tovo, who is
the fire knife dancer. They were all part of the original
version ofAlegríathat opened in 1994, and we’ll be talking to them about their
experience on this revival of the show. The presentation today
will be bilingual, so we’ll be switching
from French to English. Hello, French-speaking fans! My name is Francis Jalbert and
I’m the Publicist onAlegría. We’re in the artist’s tent
at the Old Port of Montreal, where the final preparations
and training are in full swing until the world
premiere on April 18. Today, we’ll be talking
with a few people that were part of the original
version of the show back in 1994. We have Émilie Therrien, the Acrobatic
Performance Designer and Choreographer, hula hoop artist Elena Lev, and fire-knife dancer One Tovo, who all work on the show. Guys, you all worked together
on the original version, how does it feel to be back and
to be working with these familiar faces 20 years or so later? 25 years later,
it’s awesome! It’s such a great honour and
privilege to be reunited and to be part of
this beautiful cast and to have all those memories
attached to what it was 25 years ago and, yeah, to share this
moment with them, it’s great. And then you guys I guess because you were
there at the early beginnings ofAlegría, do you feel like you’re becoming the big brother and big sister
of this new cast, or like what do you feel you’re
bringing to these new artists that are joining the show
for the first time? I think I bring experience. With the microphone. I bring experience, you know,
and just being mentors I think will be a lot of good
for the new artists, as well and being able to
just grow together. You know, you can’t take anything
away from the original cast, because there’s
something special there and this is also
something special, too. So, to be able to
be part of this, I think it’s going to help
all of us grow together, because there are lots of sacrifices
that were made in the original and for us, as this being the original
of the coming back ofAlegría, it’s special too so, you know,
you can’t take anything away. And being able to do all
the sacrifice that we’ve gone through, the show will mean so
much more to all of us. So, being mentors to them will help
make this show what it is. Right.
For you Elena? It’s definitely brand new. I mean, we are catching up and
remembering the old times, so it’s really nice to be
all together working back and kind of bringing
the old memories, but it’s definitely… we’re starting something
completely new. The new generation,
the new revival ofAlegría, so bringing the old memories,
but creating new memories and the new cast, new team, new
family of this fantastic show, so it’s great. And it’s going to be exciting guys,
you’ll see the show on April 18. Now I’m going to
switch to French. Émilie, you were part of the original
cast ofAlegríaas an artist, but now you’re the Acorbatic Performance
Designer and Choreographer. How did you get involved with
Alegríaat the beginning, and what’s it like for you to revisit the show’s artistic
expression 25 years later? That’s right, I joined
Alegría25 years ago. I was a gymnast from Sherbrooke and really passionate about
performance, creation, dancing and stage performance. Also, my dream was to be
part ofCirque du Soleil. Being chosen to join
the greatAlegríaadventure was a truly magical
moment for me. And meeting the friends
I now have, building those relationships
throughout my life, for a long time,
that’s what it feels like. Being an artist atCirque du Soleil,
on stage… You’re living your life
and your passion, and you get to share that with
awesome people every day. It’s a real privilege. And coming back to
that 25 years later on the creative side is really an amazing
opportunity. Also, helping reimagine a show
that touched me so deeply at the personal and
professional level means I also get to
experience what I felt back when I first stepped
into the big top, and have those memories well
back up in my mind and my heart. Also, like Elena said, we’re doing
something totally different and new. Of course, there are still some elements
from the originalAlegríashow, but we’re still diving into a brand
new world withAlegríain 2019. It’s also amazing to once again get to see
the incredible talent of One, Elena and everyone else that’s
part of the show. It’s always inspiring. For me, it’s like
going full circle, starting out as an artist,
and now being a creator. Going through that journey,
from being an artist, to more of a coach, and finally
working on the creative side… I just feel so lucky to be here. And I try to enjoy every second
of it and be the best I can be. Absolutely.
On that same note for Elena, how did you joinAlegríain 1994 and how does it feel today
to take similar act, but as a mature performer
25 years later? Well, I joinedAlegríain ’94, a little bit later than when
Alegríawas open in Montreal. So for me, first of all, I’m super excited and happy to be
performing in Montreal, in the Old Port, in the chapiteau all the way from creation
in the beginning, so it’s a great experience. But I joined when
I was 12 years old and I stayed withAlegríafor
about straight on 8 years, until I graduated high school
and then came back a few times. If you would have
told me 25 years ago that I would be
here 25 years later still doing what
I’m doing today, I would’ve said:
“You’re kidding me?” But being on stage today,
in the chapiteau in the Old Port with One and Émilie,
with the whole creative team, and bringing some memories like
already mentioned from before, but creating totally new ones and still being able to
perform my act pretty much, similar and the same
I’m not going to
go into details, some surprises, but it’s fantastic. Every day,
like Émilie mentioned, I’m really taking in every second
and every moment, and really creating
the memories that are today and I’m really excited looking
forward to sharing all this, I don’t know, so much inside
that are building right now, I can’t even describe it. It’s just every day I have to
like pinch myself and say: “Oh my god, it’s happening!” And it’s definitely
a full circle of life of the old and the new,
and just it’s amazing. I sometimes can’t even… I don’t know how to describe it. – Yeah, cannot describe it.
– Yeah. And also guys, we’re in
the last three-week marathon, so you know like a creation
process is intense, things change,
things evolve, so… It’s long hours for everyone, so
thank you for being here today. One for you, so how did you joinAlegría
in the first place 25 years ago and how does it feel
for you to be back a bit full circle,
I imagine, like the others. I think I was very fortunate, honestly,
because I think I had it the easiest. I was actually handpicked
by Guy Laliberté, so he mentored me
when he picked me up like I say I was 17 when
I was picked up in Hawaii. I mean, you’re looking at
a local boy from Hawaii joining something
amazing, you know? Something this big was,
for me it was very scary. But at the same time like
the creation process, the mentoring from Guy,
from Gilles Ste-Croix, all that helped me become
the circus performer I am today. That’s why I’m really
grateful to be here. I’m honoured like Émilie
said it’s a privilege, and I grew. I mean the performer I am today
is because ofCirque du Soleil. They really molded me into being
the performer that I am today, so I owe Cirque everything and to be back is an honor and to be still doing
what I’m doing today, I’m taking everything in,
I’m humbled and just thankful and grateful
for them asking me to back here and to be part of this creation
along with Émilie and Elena. I mean I don’t know
how Émilie feels, but the stage you know it’s different for her
because she’s creating it now, but to be on stage I mean
I miss it, I miss the stage. I know that she probably
misses it as well, but this is so great, amazing
and to be with everybody here the aura and the vibe is,
it’s through the roof. You know, so to have
an iconic show back out and to live up
to the hype is exciting, and at the same time
it’s the memories we built and you know, you
can’t express that. You can’t really say
anything about it and I think what the audience will see
is what we bring out on the stage is how we really feel, you know? Because everything we put out there,
we put our heart out there on stage and I don’t know, just humbled
and grateful and privileged. So, just thanks Cirque, thanks Émilie,
thanks believing in me and believing in us and being
able to bring this back is truly an honour. And we’ll touch more on
your acts in a few minutes. If you’re just joining us, we’re in the artists’ tent of
Cirque du SoleilshowAlegría, where the final preparations
are in full swing. There are only about three weeks left
before the premiere on April 18. Émilie, how do you take the acrobatic
expression onAlegríaeven further for
a 2019 audience? Well, we draw our inspiration
from the artists. It’s mostly about what acrobatic
elements people can do right now. They’re the ones that feed us and
give me that creative vision. We take the meat that was
the originalAlegríashow, its pacing, the acts we had
and the acrobatic framework, and now, with today’s artists, we can take things a bit
further with new movements. Everyone always contributes something,
as well as their experience, like Elena and One, who now have amazing stage
experience after 25 years. It’s fun to work with them
to take their characters and artistic
contribution further. They also have a say in the matter,
as they’ve been working for 25 years. They have incredible instincts and can
really connect with the audience, and that’s why I love
having them with us. They also share that with their
less experienced cast members, which was the idea. We wanted to bring in people
able to influence the troupe and show them what it takes to
be a circus arts professional, to really own an act and transcend that
barrier between the stage and the audience. It’s also about being
in the moment, and pushing the synergy
between acrobatic and artistic elements a
little further every day. That’s always been
the secret atCirque du Soleil. It’s giving artistic value
to acrobatic elements. That’s what we
work on every day. We go further and draw inspiration
from those who work on the show, so they can take it with
them throughout the years and really have a voice in
terms of acrobatic movement. We’ll be speaking with them
in English for a bit soon, but can you tell us about
Elena’s and One’s acts, just to show how you tackled
them this time around, in 2019? We really build on the concept
that Elena and One, instead of being characters with a
separate identity than the others… We’re really just three big families
onAlegríain 2019. We have the Bronx, the Angels and the Aristocrats. So, Elena and One have
that Bronx energy, they’re a renewal, the winds of change coming from
the people from the streets, outside the kingdom inAlegría. We’re really trying
to tap into an energy that’s rawer and more organic. The Bronx’s energy stems
from their warmth, but also their strength
and intuitiveness. I think the Bronx characters
move very intuitively, as well. Nothing’s really
defined or precise. They’re always moving, so that’s what
we’re also trying out with One and Elena. We’re trying to tap into
these characters’ essence, while adding strength
and an edge to it, and push things further. That’s right.
It’s really inspiring. Yes, that’s the process we took. Guys if you joined us, we’re in
the artistic tent ofAlegríaas we are getting ready for
the first performance on April 18. Elena and One were part
of the original cast. Elena how are you approaching
your act for this version? Without giving too much away,
but how do you feel? Because like you mentioned,
you were 12 originally, now you’re 25 years later. So how are you approaching
the performance? Thanks for being so nice on that. You know. Well, definitely like
Émilie has mentioned, I’m going to translate
a little bit of what she said. We are going with three different kinds
of families in this part ofAlegría, so like she said, me and One we are
part of one big group and family, which is called the Bronx. So, the character development that
we’ve been working on is definitely… it’s no longer a little girl. It’s me as a woman today, trying to be a little bit
stronger, more powerful, a little bit rough, a little bit soft,
a little bit seductive, but all of those
things mixed together. And of course, it’s basically what
I’m trying to translate on stage, is my life experience as a performer,
as a mother, as a woman and all those things are
coming together for me. So, there are lots of
surprises in the act, so you guys, you know,
are to be seen soon, only three weeks left. But honestly, I’m really
thankful for them to kind of challenge
me into this new role, a new personality and just everything that’s
happening on stage right now it is me, so I’m able to translate it and
show the audience who I am today with the same pretty
much tricks and act a little bit, you
know, evolved today. So, it’s fantastic,
I’m having fun with it and I hope you guys will understand
what we’re trying to deliver in the new revived version. One in the same way, how are you re-approaching
your act for this revival? I think it’s more the story
of who we are, you know, and like Émilie was
saying you know, the energy that comes from
the characters that we are to portray. Differently, it’s
just like we say, we’ll be on stage and we have to portray
this character and it’s so meaningful, especially for our
characters being the Bronx, we literally are the power,
the powerhouse, the energetic side of the story
of whatAlegríawill be. And it’s not much of what it changes,
it’s how much we grew, you know. And it’s not telling
a new story, it’s just, it’s actually
us living who we are and who we were 25 years ago
to who we are now, that’s what we’re portraying. And to be…
I’m glad that we’re Bronx, because it’s really, what we do is very energic
you know, and very powerful. So, to elaborate that on stage
is going to be so good. And I love the storyline
and like I said what we had back then was special,
what we have now is special and to be able to do
all that you know, and put that on stage is going to
be truly remarkable for all of us. It’s going to be a good vibe,
good story and just great energy. One last question
for you, Émilie. What are you most excited for
people to discover aboutAlegría? Without giving too much away, what are you hoping
people will feel or what can’t you wait
for them to discover? I’m really hoping they’ll have a really
emotional moment during the show. We want to make them
feel strong emotions. That’s what we really want. Just like the original version
ofAlegría, back in 1994, when people were really moved. I hope they’ll feel this way again
when they seeAlegríain 2019. It’s all about that
emotional level. Beauty, emotion, energy, being in the moment, making people
experience beautiful things, so that they leave the show with lots of
emotions they’ll want to share with others. I think that’s what
Alegríais all about. It’s having your heart
overflow with joy and glee. I think that’s what I want
people to remember the most. It’s that level of emotion and
energy that just make you go “wow”! It’s beautiful, it’s fun… You get into it, you get hooked
on the energy, the story, the characters and
what’s happening. Guys on the same note,
what do you hope people will feel from your performance and from this
revivedAlegríain a few words? For me I hope that they do
remember the oldAlegría, but I hope that they come
in with no expectations, but they just sit down,
experience what they will see and, like Émilie said, will leave
with just a full heart and joy, and just it’s going
to touch them. We’re hoping to touch them
in the same way asAlegríahas touched everybody around
the world in the last 25 years. So, it’s… we’re going to do it. No, it’s the same thing.
I mean, like I said, every artist, every character
in the show is important. Not one stands out
more than the other, it’s a big family. So, what we’re going to portray
and what to expect from the show, the original show
to the show now, nothing different. Just the energy and the excitement
is going to be the same. Better. Better. And how we present it too,
at the same time, like I said, everyone that was asked
to be here belongs here, and everyone that… all our talents and
everything that’s together, I mean it just gels really well. I mean, we get along with
everybody, like I said. So the characters and
everything in the show, not one is going to stand
out more than the other, because we’re all complimenting
each other so well and you’re going to
see that on stage. So, I’m just hoping that
people will have an open mind and that we want
to give it our best and hope that we can live
up to the expectations of what they know ofAlegría. So guys, I hope you’re
as excited as we are. Alegría opens in
Montreal on April 18. Until then, stay tuned to all
theCirque du Soleilchannels, there will be more
content coming your way and we can’t wait to see
you under the big top. Alegría opens April 18 under the big top
in the Old Port of Montreal. We’re super excited to see you there
so you can discover the show. Stay tuned onCirque du Soleil
social media platforms, because we’ll be putting out tons
of content over the next few weeks. We can’t wait to see
you under the big top! Thank you very much! Thank you everyone.
Thank you guys.

12 thoughts on “ALEGRIA Q&A With The Artists From Cirque du Soleil”

  1. Can you believe Alegria opens next week?!?! We'd love to know, what was your favorite part of this video?

  2. My wife and caught this show in Montreal on April 27. We were so lucky to find that Alegria was being presented under the big top on the week that we were in Montreal. Amazing show!

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