Live Theater, St. Louis Events

Behind-the-Scenes at Cirque du Soleil ‘Corteo’ – Through Sunday at Chaifetz

Posted: April 26, 2019 at 2:51 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The tagline of Cirque du Soleil’s latest tour, Corteo, is “Get carried away with life.”

The word “corteo” means procession in Italian. Which is a fitting title for the show, which is about a clown named Mauro who has just passed away. However, his spirit is still among us and remembering all of the best parts of his life. Lucky for us, we get to come along for this existential journey – which is truly out of this world.

No two Cirque shows are exactly alike. What they all have in common is fantastic music, unbelievable displays of strength and skill, and beautiful costumes. But what makes each of them truly unique is their stories. Unlike a traditional circus, Cirque tells a compelling tale which gets connected piece by piece by the breathtaking acts. In the case of Corteo, it is the celebration of Mauro’s life which we see after his passing. It is not about the sadness of his passing, but rather the joy of his experiences with all of his friends and loved ones.

The stage and chandeliers being tested for Corteo’s opening number.

The stage is set in the middle of the arena, allowing it to be viewed perfectly from each side. This gives the audience the feeling of being a performer and seeing the audiences’ reactions.

The show starts off with a phenomenal display of dance and aerial acrobatics, as four performers are hanging from three large chandeliers (pictured above). Their bodies beautifully weave in and out of the decorative fixtures, accompanied by live music and singing. There are no safety nets, and these performers are not attached by harnesses. They often hang by a limb, gracefully making each move look effortless.

And that is what each act is like – unbelievable, and seemingly impossible to the average person. Yet the talented performers of Cirque make it look easy.

Watching these incredible performers practice behind-the-scenes was astonishing. Seeing how dedicated they are to their art is endlessly impressive and inspirational. With how physically fit most of them are, you would think that each show would give them enough exercise. But that isn’t the case. Not only do they tirelessly rehearse before each performance – but they also work out with the gym equipment they travel with to each city.

When you watch a Cirque show, you see spectacular things – many of which don’t even seem humanly possible. And I was able to get a look at several of the acts up close. I watched the acrobats practice their routine for the stunning finale of the show (pictured above), as well as the dazzling bed routine – which was one of my favorites during the show.

In Act I, two beds are wheeled out to center-stage where the performers do a variety of jumps and flips on top of and between them. The variety of moves they are able to do is incredible, and often they are jumping and flipping over one another.

Watch below as one of the performers does an impressive series of back handsprings in place. This was great in the show as well.


As mentioned previously, the show is a celebration of life. Although it is dealing with the passing of the main character, there is nothing scary about the story they are telling. The costumes are bright and colorful, and the performers are often fun and playful. This is a show the entire family can enjoy, even if they don’t quite grasp the whole afterlife aspect. There is so much to take in, and each routine offers something that will leave you in awe.

At one point in the show, the “clowness” known as Mini Lili flys above the audience attached to gigantic balls filled with helium. The act is known as the “Helium Dance,” and it was one of the highlights of the evening. Mauro and Lili encourage the audience to push upon her feet as she travels by, eventually making it around both sides of the arena. It’s a break from the traditional, and just another thing that makes Cirque so special.

Below is a picture of the balloons used to carry Mini Lili throughout the audience.

During the evening you will see 52 different performers, comprised of 18 nationalities. There are musicians, actors, singers, dancers, circus performers, gymnasts, and more. It’s fantastic to see such a variety of talented individuals making up the incredible show.

Corteo is another beautiful creation from Cirque du Soleil, who never fails to delight audiences with their shows all around the world. Filled with a beautiful story, amazing feats, and plenty of fun – it offers a complete wonderment of the senses.

See Cirque du Soleil Corteo at Chaifetz Arena now through Sunday, April 28. For more information, visit cirquedusoleil.com.

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