The path to performing with Cirque du Soleil is different for every artist. Some audition while others receive a direct offer. In my case, I registered my profile on Cirque’s website as soon as I debuted as a professional performer in 2007. This registration is open to anyone, and I was among the many people hoping to receive an invitation to audition.
Two years later, in 2009, the opportunity to audition finally came. At that time there were no Yo-Yo performers in the history of Cirque du Soleil, and I was put into the “other” audition category comprised mainly of gymnasts. When I arrived at the venue, there were many world-class athletes. As the auditions progressed from a practical skill test to improvisational dance test, half of those athletes before me dropped out.
I had two secret strategies for this audition. One was an original Yo-Yo made in a Japanese lathe factory that was large enough to look good even on Cirque’s big stage. The second was the two years I spent learning ballet. Since I knew that the audition would include an improvised dance, I had also taken jazz and contemporary dance lessons, as well as increasing my ballet sessions.
As a result, I not only passed the practical skill tests, but also the improvised dance test which some of the gymnasts were struggling with. All the auditions and decisions for the day were recorded and I was told I would receive the final result after further consideration at head office.
A month after the audition, 18th December 2009, was close to my birthday, with nothing special scheduled. I was in a restaurant with an acquaintance when my phone rang. It was Cirque du Soleil who said: “Congratulations, you’ve passed the audition.” I shouted out to anyone in the restaurant who would listen: “I passed it!!!”