Cirque du Soleil is almost ready to shine its lights on Tysons once again.
After a three-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada-based circus and entertainment company raised its big top tent at Lerner Town Square (8025 Galleria Drive) on July 21 in anticipation of premiering its “Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities” show tomorrow (Friday).
It took about 115 people and six days to erect the tent, which seats 2,600 people per show, according to Kurios publicist Becky Williams. The production travels in about 65 trucks carrying thousands of props, costumes and other equipment as well as 110 people from 27 different countries, including 46 cast members.
“Everything that you see on-site, we travel with ourselves,” Williams said. “When we arrive, there is nothing here, so we build everything from the ground up.”
Scheduled to stay in Tysons through Sept. 25, Kurios is one of 20 shows that Cirque du Soleil currently has in active rotation. It previously passed through Tysons in 2016, but Williams says it’s “really special for us to be back” since this is the show’s first U.S. stop since restarting in January.
When COVID-19 prompted a suspension of all Cirque du Soleil shows in March 2020, acrobat Mathieu Hubener was with Kurios in Australia. Throughout the show’s two-year hiatus, he continued training, but he also pursued some personal activities and goals and performed for a TV show with some friends.
A 12-year veteran of Cirque du Soleil who has been part of Kurios since it launched in 2014, Hubener had to readjust to the show’s rhythm after such a long break, but he’s glad to be back with the touring group, which he describes as “a big family.”
“It’s nice to be back in the States,” he said. “The audience is always great in the United States…I just hope they’re going to like it, like they liked it last time, because it was a pretty great audience last time we came here.”
Following a Victorian-era inventor who travels into a hidden world that brings his curios to life, the 120-minute Kurios features contortionists, balancing acts, live music and plenty of acrobatics, including the signature “acro-net” that Hubener helped create — essentially a giant trampoline that sends performers up to 40 feet in the air.
“We need the help of everyone to make it work, and if you see the show, you would see it’s…like seven grown-up adults having fun like kids on the net,” Hubener said.
Because of its fantastical story, Kurios blurs the line between costumes and props. Its nine-person wardrobe team includes shoe, costume, and hair and makeup specialists as well as two people hired locally in each city to assist with laundry, ironing, and other preparations each morning.
Mar Gonzalez was fresh out of college when Cirque du Soleil hired her seven years ago as one of those local “morning people.” She says she “fell in love with the lifestyle” and being able to work closely with the artists.
Now, she serves as head of wardrobe for Kurios and oversees alterations, repairs and maintenance of every wig and piece of clothing worn by the performers, all of them custom made at the circus’ main office in Montreal.
After working on a different show for Cirque du Soleil last year, Gonzalez says she “was very excited” to join Kurios when it kicked off its current tour in Toronto in April.
“Everybody was so excited to have a job back, to be back on tour, back on the road, to see everybody again, so it’s been really, really positive energy and a learning curve as well,” Gonzalez said. “This is the first time our team works together, so it’s a constant learning curve, but it’s a lot of fun.”
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