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Behind the curtain of the Cirque du Soleil experience

September 28, 2011

Learning the technology behind Cirque du Soleil productions will be among the symposium highlights.

What students of dance, theatre or entertainment technology haven’t dreamed of working for the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil?

In October, many of those students will get a taste of what it takes to become a Cirque du Soleil artist or technician when the Quebec-based entertainment organization brings some of its top people to Chapman University Oct. 21-23. All will take part in a groundbreaking three-day Cirque du Soleil Entertainment and Technology Symposium directed by Chapman Professor Alicia Okouchi-Guy, Department of Dance, and Professor Don Guy, head of entertainment technology.

The program is the first of its kind at a university campus and was born out of the couple’s working relationship with Cirque du Soleil, which since its launch in 1984 has become an icon of cutting-edge Las Vegas entertainment. Today the company has 5,000 employees worldwide and a repertory of resident shows and touring productions across the globe.

The program is free to Chapman students, faculty and staff. Attendees must register online by Saturday, Oct. 1. Community members may attend for a $45 fee.

Professor Okouchi-Guy’s goal is for Chapman students to see what it takes to compete for a place on the entertainment giant’s team.

“Students will know more about what Cirque du Soleil is really looking for and how they can get better,” Professor Okouchi-Guy said.

In addition to mock auditions conducted by Cirque du Soleil’s casting director, the symposium will include master classes in performance, multimedia, audio, company management, stage management, rigging, operations, automation, wigs, makeup, props and scenic design.

As a bonus treat for the public, the symposium will include free festive movie nights  Friday, Oct. 21, and Saturday, Oct. 22. From 7:30 to 9 each night, Attallah Piazza will feature a circus atmosphere for outdoor screenings of two documentaries that feature behind-the-scenes footage of Cirque du Soleil shows. Free snow cones, popcorn and other circus treats will be offered along with the films. Friday will showcase The Story of the Creation of KÀ – An Epic Journey! and Saturday Alegría.

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