Home India Local News Cirque du Soleil: A teeterboarder has 1.8 seconds to take a call

Cirque du Soleil: A teeterboarder has 1.8 seconds to take a call

6 min read

After an aerial somersault, an acrobat lands perfectly on the teeterboard and raises his arm with a Shah Rukh Khan flourish. Take a closer look, he’s out of breath.

When the lights come on during the intermission, the Delhi smog hangs heavy inside the tent. This is not surprising, considering Cirque du Soleil’s Bazzar has set up show in Aerocity, Delhi.

A week after the first Delhi performance, Pablo Volarcher, a French teeterboarder travelling with the troupe to India, waits in the Big Top with a face mask on. He removes it only when the conversation starts. His girlfriend, he says, is at the doctor’s because of her asthma attack. Patrick Schuhmann, a German acrobat and Pablo’s partner, says the pollution affected their performance initially, before the air purifiers were brought in. “If it gets difficult to breathe, and you make a mistake, it has a snowball effect.” Their show in Mumbai was definitely easier, they agree. They’ve been touring for nearly two months now with Bazzar, which debuted in India instead of Montreal.

The theatrical company from Canada, with an annual revenue of nearly Rs 6,000 crore, has brought the circus into the politically correct world. Minus animals, plus state-of-the-art special effects, props and stories and themes. Touring shows, such as the one currently in India, are smaller than resident ones. Popular Las Vegas shows such as The Beatles LOVE or O are spectaculars at par with Broadway fare.

But Bazzar is an exceptionally small act, with a troupe of about 30 artistes and minimal automation or special effects. It is almost underwhelming. On the plus side, the attention is entirely on the tricks of the athletes rather than on the effects or on the theme.

Out of breath

It’s true that the air quality in Delhi has made the job of Bazzar’s teeterboarding trio more difficult. But better air quality does not make their job easy. Since the time of great showman P T Barnum, teeterboarders, like most circus acrobats, have pulled it off by the skin of their teeth. What looks effortless during the performance is actually precarious.

Watching a practice video on Instagram can make you breathless with apprehension. Acrobats leap off what looks like a playground seesaw and jump higher and higher, adding multiple flips. When one lands, the other is flung up and they switch places in the middle of all of that.

Patrick says, “Teeterboarding never gets stable.” Patrick started his career with Cirque do Soleil but has participated in avant garde European performances before returning to the company. “There is 10 percent luck involved. If we are suddenly a meter higher, it changes everything – the rotation, the dynamic. Up in the air, you have about 1.8 second to adjust and react,” he adds.

The trio is constantly shouting calls at each other for adjustments. The person on the ground often rushes to stabilise the others who land. They depend on each other for their safety. In fact, getting it right is critical for that very reason. “If I make a mistake in my own trick, it’s okay. But if it affects my partners, that can upset me for the whole day,” says Pablo. https://www.telegraphindia.com/culture/arts/cirque-du-soleil-a-teeterboarder-has-1-8-seconds-to-take-a-call/cid/1681462

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