Madeline Stammen and Jerome Sordillon practice at the ENMAX Centrium before Red Deerians get the chance to see Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal this week from Wednesday to Sunday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Cirque du Soleil comes to Red Deer for first time

Former Olympic figure skater part of the show

It takes a lot of work to put on a show like Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal.

This is the first-ever ice show for Cirque du Soleil and will be performed at the ENMAX Centrium until Sunday.

“Cirque du Soleil has had the idea of creating an ice show (for a long time),” said Julie Desmarais, Crystal touring publicist. “About a year-and-a-half ago the opportunity came along to create a brand new show and everything revolved around the theme of ice – the costumes, the stage, the set, the props.”

There are 40 performers in the show, which has made more than 20 stops so far in this tour.

“It takes about 16 hours for our team to load (into an arena) and it will take them less than four hours to pack everything in and move to the next city,” Desmarais said.

Eighty to 100 local stagehands help set everything up at each tour stop.

Shawn Sawyer, a performer in Crystal, said it’s tough to get everything together.

“It’s hard work at the end of the day. We work with our bodies so we have to make sure we stay in shape, stretch and warm up every day,” Sawyer said.

Travelling from town to town can be a bit hard on the body, he said.

“There is always ups and down – some days are a little harder. But when the show wraps up and everyone stands up to clap, it’s all worth while,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer is a former Olympic figure skater, representing Canada in the 2006 Winter Games in Torino. He said skating with Cirque and skating in the Olympics are different.

“The fun part (here) is to not be as stressed as an Olympic athlete. As a competitive skater, you compete maybe eight to 10 times a year. But as a show skater, we perform 300 times in just 2018. The stress level finally goes down and we feel comfortable with the show and we feel the excitement,” he said.

Sawyer has skated for as long as he can remember.

“I’ve always liked being on the ice and I’ve liked pushing myself to learn new tricks. Even if I wasn’t figure skating I enjoyed going outside with hockey skates and playing a good old game of hockey,” he said.

After competing in the Olympics, he was a part of Stars on Ice. Once his time ended there, Sawyer said he thought he was done performing. But then Cirque sent him an emailing saying it was going to tackle an ice show.

“I was the first one in line who wanted to be a part of something like that,” he said.

There is one performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal Thursday and Friday, three performances Saturday and two performances Sunday – this is Cirque’s first time in Red Deer.

For more information visit www.westernerpark.ca.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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Madeline Stammen and Jerome Sordillon practice at the ENMAX Centrium before Red Deerians get the chance to see Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal this week from Wednesday to Sunday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Madeline Stammen and Jerome Sordillon practice at the ENMAX Centrium before Red Deerians get the chance to see Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal this week from Wednesday to Sunday. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal will be performed at the ENMAX Centrium from Wednesday to Sunday in Red Deer. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

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