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Acrobatic homecoming - Metro US

Acrobatic homecoming

Cirque du Soleil show contorts itself to fit into Scotiabank Place

David Gonczol For Metro Ottawa

Fifteen years after first staging Saltimbanco in Montreal, Cirque du Soleil has revived the show, which opened in Ottawa at Scotiabank Place last night. Filled with spectacular colour, comedy, acrobatics, and memorable music, Saltimbanco will be performed through to Sunday.

Martin Monderie enjoyed something of a homecoming last night when the acrobat performed in Saltimbanco, by Cirque du Soleil, at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place.

It marked the first time the 27-year-old former gymnast from Gatineau had performed with Cirque du Soleil in Ottawa and he was eager to put on a good show in his own backyard.

“All my family is coming,” Monderie said yesterday before the start of the eye-popping event, one of the earliest productions by the famed Montreal-based Cirque. “It’s so cool to be in your own town performing for friends and family. I love it.”

The decision by Cirque to alter Saltimbanco to fit the confines of an arena has the potential to bring even more performers closer to their various hometowns, as the show becomes accessible to a greater number of venues and new audiences.

Saltimbanco is the first traditional Cirque du Soleil show to be presented in an arena. When it started in 1992, it toured under a big-top tent and has been performed more than 4,000 times.

Production manager Pierre Guillotte said the biggest challenge with moving a tent show into an arena is the set-up time.

“We need to be able to bring the show in and set it up in more or less six hours,” he said yesterday. “Compared to a tent environment (where) set up was typically a two-and-a-half day thing.”

The set has been completely redesigned to enable a quick move; however, Guillotte said spectators aren’t likely to notice.

Saltimbanco was slated to stop touring in December, but the access to new venues has extended the run. The cast has 40 acrobats, five musicians and two singers, who sing in a contrived phonetic language.

Saltimbanco runs through the weekend and “people should expect an amazing show,” said Monderie, whose main character is “The Sexy Boy.”

“It’s a great experience,” said Monderie, who trained at the Ottawa Gym Club until he was 19. “The show gives you this amazing vibe after. It’s amazing to be part of that.”

And amazing, too, for Monderie’s family members — whom his mother, Micheline, said yesterday numbered 100 people from across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

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