December 1, 2016
Performers in the first act of TOTEM enjoy a pre-rehearsal stretch
Costume headpieces from the show
A seamstress puts the finishing touch on a performer's shoe
Masks worn in the show's first act
Performers rehearse on a dome-shaped labyrinth of bars.
Earlier this month, Cirque du Soleil's whimsical tents popped up to premiere its South Florida production of TOTEM, a show that begins at the dawn of man and quickly spirals into a futuristic world. This weekend, we got a behind the scenes look at the first act rehearsal and stole some time with star gymnast Fabio Luis Santos.
How did you join Cirque du Soleil?
FABIO LUIS SANTOS: I was a gymnast in Brazil for 13 years, and in 2008 they did an audition in Brazil to find new talent. I did some acrobatics, acting, dancing—even though I did not have any background in those disciplines.
What separates Cirque du Soleil from traditional gymnastics?
FS: It was a lot of experimentation. We tried a lot of different things. Gymnasts are like mini-robots, we perform alone and try to reach high scores. [With Cirque] it was more artistic, more focused on choreography.
What did you find most challenging?
FS: All the new tricks were challenging: learning to work two bars and using a trampoline.
Had you always aspired to join Cirque du Soleil?
FS: No. When I heard they were doing auditions in Brazil, it opened my mind to the possibility that this may be the next step in my career. I was in a good place with my gymnastics and thought it was a good way to travel, make money, and enjoy the on-the-road lifestyle. It's been great. [There is nothing like] people clapping and screaming for your performance.
Located outside of Sun Life Stadium, TOTEM runs through February 24. 2269 N.W. 199th St., Miami Gardens