CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

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This spring, Cirque du Soleil began a recurring residency with L.A. Live that will include annual stops at the Microsoft Theater for the next five years. The first of those Cirque shows lớn land in Los Angeles is a revamped version of Cirque"s Ovo.


The characters in Ovo are anthropomorphized insects. The show follows the insects" fascination with a large egg (“ovo” is the Portuguese word for “egg”), all the while exploring life cycles and love. Ovo emphasizes the bright colors of real insects, utilizing performers ranging from acrobats lớn contortionists.

The show makes use of an international crew, with members representing 17 different nationalities.


One of those performers, Gianfranco Di Sanzo, started out as a juggling street artist in Uruguay. He practiced while traveling around the world, including lớn the United States, but eventually he moved into aerial acrobatics.


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Di Sanzo at one point found himself in Brazil without a coach, so he began watching videos on YouTube & training with a friend. This new discipline ultimately brought him khổng lồ the attention of Cirque, which hired him in 2017.

Now he works in human trapeze as an aerial cradle performer, tossing female partners at a height of 30 feet from the ground below — & doing it across 20 feet of mở cửa air, according to lớn Di Sanzo. He said that he finds the work to lớn be a big, interesting challenge. In Ovo, he portrays a large scarab.

Training For The Circus In A Pandemic


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Trapeze artists bring the bug world khổng lồ life in "Ovo" from Cirque du Soleil.
(Courtesy Cirque du Soleil)
Cirque du Soleil’s experience relies on live, in-person spectacle — which meant the pandemic had a particularly outsized effect on their shows. The team is excited to be back after two years, the longest pause in the show’s existence.

Like so many performers, Di Sanzo struggled when COVID-19 took that work away from him. He found himself becoming depressed.

“To be honest, the first year was really hard,” Di Sanzo said. He faced frustrations watching gyms mở cửa then close again, unsure of the path forward.

So he brought the work trang chủ — Di Sanzo & his partner built a 15-foot-high aerial apparatus next lớn their house, soldering it together themselves. That gave them the ability to hone their skills while away from the venues where they usually perform. Di Sanzo also conducted his weight training out in the street.


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Cirque du Soleil "Ovo" assistant head of sound John Peter Añon & aerial performer Gianfranco Di Sanzo.
(Courtesy Cirque du Soleil)
Di Sanzo"s teammate John Peter Añon, the assistant head of sound, also longed for live shows during the performance shutdown.

“This pandemic was really rough, lớn be away from what I love so much,” Añon said. He’s originally from Venezuela & moved to lớn North America lớn pursue this career. He expressed a mixture of excitement và hesitation — while he’s happy to return to lớn entertaining live audiences, the work can be stressful with its repetition day after day, he said.

“People will have bad days, but those good days are more than the bad days,” Añon said.

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Creating The Sound Of Ovo



John Peter Añon at the soundboard for Cirque du Soleil's Ovo.
(Courtesy Cirque du Soleil)
Ovo has a Brazilian-themed sound, according to lớn Añon, with elements of samba — that includes seven musicians working on the show, including several Brazilians. Speakers are placed around the audience to envelop them in the audio textures created by the musicians & sound designers.

Añon got his start studying show production in college — a shift from his original plan, which was to become a nurse.

“Growing up, I’d always been into rock and roll & played in bands,” Añon said.

But after taking some jazz classes as a minor, he threw himself into pursuing the world of live music shows. He got his first internship working on the Warped Tour, then began to move from one tour khổng lồ another. Añon went from traveling between tour stops by bus khổng lồ running shows on a cruise ship & even working for Disney On Ice, before finding his way to Cirque du Soleil in 2018.

“I always wanted something bigger, và then better — I’ve been shooting for the stars,” Añon said. “I found here that they really push you, give you the tools necessary, & all the training necessary just to evolve into a better technician.”


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"Ovo" lets the insect world entertain through bright visuals and dynamic performances.
Now he’s training to lớn move from sound into becoming an automation tech operator, which means he’ll be responsible for helping all those acrobats fly. The training & growth Cirque offers is what brought him back after multiple pandemic shutdowns.

“It’s not just the music that I love, it’s not just sound — it’s just show business,” Añon said. “Going from đô thị to city, starting with nothing — with an empty arena, with an empty theater, with an empty parking lot. And putting something up that wasn’t there before.”

For those who want to lớn follow in his footsteps, either in sound or live show production, Añon encourages people to volunteer or vì chưng internships.

“My first gigs, they were all internships and they were all volunteer,” Añon said. “I have learned more from people than I have from my school. I’ve had good mentors along the way.”

His other secret khổng lồ success: when you don’t know something, tell people you don’t know, he advised, adding that you should keep your head down và stay humble.

“People would rather work with somebody that knows what they’re doing but is humble, rather than a know-it-all và is just really hard lớn work with,” Añon said.

What Makes Performing Ovo In Los Angeles Special


The circus even makes time for some bug-world romance.
One of the challenges — và advantages — of being based in a big thành phố such as Los Angeles is the sheer number and variety of entertainment options, Añon said.

On the one hand, it’s provided more opportunities khổng lồ go out and see shows he wouldn’t be able to lớn access as easily in many other places. But it also means more competition.

“It makes me try harder than I have before, just because there’s other shows that people can go to, that people can spend their money on,” said Añon, noting how hard it can be to stand out from the crowd. Still, he seemed confident that Ovo gives audiences their money’s worth.

He’s made friends with people from other shows and said he loves having them come see what he does.

“I want khổng lồ show off my show. I want to lớn say, ‘Wasn’t that cool? Don’t you wish you were a part of this thing that we’re doing here?’” Añon said.

“Our act, it’s impressive — you will have tension, và you will get into it,” Di Sanzo said. “This act is more poetic, và you will feel different, there is more acrobatic stuff — you get tense, and then you go ‘Ohhh, it’s nice, it’s safe.’”

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