Joining Cirque du Soleil

It was an email from the casting team at Cirque du Soleil. “We are always looking for new acts to try and add into our shows. We have a one more act left to cast for our new touring show ‘Kurios.’ We’d like to inquire about your availability.”

It was a sudden offer, with only 20 days before the show opened. To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether I should go or not. My new ‘talk’ work was beginning to take off, and I thought “If I leave Japan now, that means throwing away the bonus of the TED Talk effect that was boosting requests to give talks.”

After a deep consideration, I decided to go to Montreal. The main reason was my concern that my growth as a performer was slowing. I was pleased that I could finally create and perform an act with the confidence of “Yo-Yo Samurai.” On the other hand, I felt that I had used all my experience and ideas to create that act, and didn’t have any ideas or resources to create new acts.

“I heard Cirque du Soleil has choreographers who will help its artists to create acts. It is a great opportunity for me to find another side of myself as a performer with their help.” I flew to the headquarters of Cirque in Montreal, and quickly discover how wrong my ideas were.

Most artist acts had been in production for over 6 months. There were choreographers, but they had already left because it was only 10 days until the show launched. I needed to create my new act by myself, about an optimistic character from British culture, that was totally different from “Samurai.”

It was an honor to be evaluated for my creative talent. However, the pressure of “I have to finish creating a performance worthy of Cirque du Soleil in one week” was too much. Six days after I arrived in Canada, on April 20, 2014, I suddenly fell unconscious in the artists tent.