The world’s preeminent destination for jaw-dropping displays of trapeze arts and assorted flights of fancy brings a new storyboard to the Valley in February.
Cirque du Soleil, which has performed across the globe since 1984, brings “Ovo” to Phoenix for the first time, with the shows running from Feb. 20-23.
Ovo, which means egg in Portuguese, revolves around an ecosystem of insects full of life and color, where specimens interact and live out their lives in a fun-filled manner.
The show, which debuted in arenas in 2016, has toured all over North America, Europe and South America, with more than 6 million people taking in the show.
Ovo is a labor of love for aerialists like Beth Williams, who has been on tour with the cast and crew of the exhibition for three months.
Williams learned her high-wire act as a child in England, where she enrolled in various ballet classes and schools.
Her career progressed from there, auditioning for full-time dance school, before deciding a change was necessary.
Williams decided to take trapeze classes at a circus school in London, training all day, every day.
The hardcore training landed Williams a gig with Cirque du Soleil out of school. Williams calls touring with Cirque du Soleil a dream come true, as she’s able to do a host of physically demanding and awe-inspiring feats.
So far, Williams traveled to 19 cities across 15 states on the round with “Ovo.” It’s a demanding task, but one she’s thrilled to undertake.
Such an extensive touring routine would be draining for the artists making the show possible, if it were not for a series of breaks allowing performers to catch their breath.
Williams said the demands of touring are real, but it’s a reality staff is willing to accept.
“It’s absolutely amazing. We usually have one or two days off, so, we try to get around the cities or the towns we’re in and get a feel for things, then after we go into shows,” Williams said. “So, we do get a chance to look around a little bit as well, which is great.”
“Ovo” might be Cirque du Soleil’s most daring performance to date, with 52 performing artists from 14 countries undertaking a litany of acrobatics.
The show features more than 10 types of high-level acrobatic acts, including mainstays like foot juggling and Icarian games, as well as hand balancing, contortion, aerial straps, slack wire and Russian cradle, to name a few.
The performance is the brainchild of artistic guides Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix, who dreamed up a world where insects can be the central characters of a universe, instead of the pests they’re often made out to be in other shows.
“Ovo” includes subversive elements, such as a moment where an awkward and gangly insect enters the ecosystem, only to have a meeting with a sumptuous ladybug, among other encounters highlighted in the performance.
Williams believes “Ovo” is the perfect show for parents and children, as it features a one-of-a-kind mix of acrobatics and life lessons sure to amaze.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity because it’s such a unique show and it’s such a spectacular night full of acrobatics, aerials, amazing music, colorful costumes,” Williams said. “And it’s a really fun show to bring all the family, and to bring a child to as well.”
Williams said each night of the Phoenix show will feature unique elements, to keep the performances fresh for performers and viewers.
She believes the current iteration of “Ovo” is the most polished version, with each night bringing greater energy and creativity.
“Over time, we do try to make it better. So, we’ll be performing the same thing on stage, but backstage, we’re trying new things,” Williams said. “We’re trying to make things more difficult or crazier.”
The evolution keeps Williams enthralled, as the tour grinds along, with the wonder of trapeze arts and the pulse-pounding allure of high-wire acts keeping her on her toes each night.