The decision to “leave Cirque du Soleil”

The show I was performing in, KURIOS, was a touring show. Every two months the show changed cities and venues. The weekly schedule was basically the same in every city. From Tuesday to Sunday, there were about 10 shows, with every Monday off. I tried to focus on recovering from my tired condition during my day off and didn’t spend much time on sightseeing or other things.

Having already missed shows through sickness, “Keeping in good condition so I could perform at my best for Cirque du Soleil” was my top priority. I focused on good quality sleep with a special pillow and mattress brought from Japan, and 1 hour of stretching before the show every day. If I felt even a little bit odd, I asked the medical team immediately. I paid close attention to managing my physical condition.

In addition, I needed to maintain my Yo-Yos and do my make-up before the show. With this tight schedule I began to feel that while I could practice to maintain my skills, it was difficult to find the time to try new tricks or create a new act.

Until this time, I had been growing at a good pace towards my dream of performing in Cirque du Soleil. Now that my dream had come true and I was appearing regularly, I noticed my growth had slowed.

I felt impatient. In my contract, the discretion to renew is left to the artist, so I could continue with Cirque permanently if I wanted to. But it sounded a little like “Your current level is the peak of your life as a performer. I will never grow in future.” Of course, it’s not same for all artists. Many of them continue to grow while performing with Cirque. But in my case, that’s what I felt.

Even with the possibility of helping not only the Yo-Yo community, but also many more people after my TED appearance, it seemed difficult to continue performing with Cirque. I wondered whether I would feel life was worth it if I stopped growing as a performer and in life. During my time at Cirque I received a lot messages like “I’m encouraged by your passion to join Cirque du Soleil with the Yo-Yo” and I was really happy.

But I thought, “maybe I can encourage even more people. Rather than pursue a stable income, I believed pursuing the possibility of helping more people made life worth living.” I’d accomplished my dream of “performing in Cirque du Soleil with the Yo-Yo,” and after two years finished my contract and returned to Japan in February 2016.