Behind the Magic of CRYSTAL: A Conversation with Cirque du Soleil’s Artistic Director, Rob Tannion

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There’s something unique about the way a circus communicates. Unlike traditional forms of entertainment, it has an inherent ability to surpass language barriers and connect directly with the human spirit. This international language of performance is one that Rob Tannion, Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil’s show CRYSTAL, speaks fluently and passionately about.

Rob Tannion, an Australian national with Irish-Indian heritage and a Mexican wife, has always embraced a multicultural perspective. This rich background has enabled him to speak multiple languages, including English and Spanish, and understand a few others like French, Italian, and Portuguese. But it’s in the universal language of the circus where Tannion finds his true calling.

On-stage Interview

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In a recent interview, Tannion spoke warmly about his career trajectory, highlighting that working with Cirque du Soleil was a long-term dream realized. He lovingly referred to his role as a lifestyle, combining his passions, instead of just a job. What stood out the most for him was the multicultural and community aspect of the world-renowned circus.

But it’s not just the international camaraderie that Tannion admires. He appreciates the art form itself, underlining the broad appeal of CRYSTAL, a show he directs. CRYSTAL is unique, being a blend of physical theatre and choreography, as opposed to the standard act transition format seen in most shows. This distinctive approach, along with a timely story featuring two female protagonists, has made the show a hit among a diverse audience – from X-Games enthusiasts to die-hard circus fans.

Rob Tannion also provides a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of Cirque du Soleil, a world that most spectators rarely see. As the artistic director, he must manage a touring show that constantly changes cities, requiring meticulous planning and quick decision-making to ensure the best show possible is presented to the audience every night. His responsibilities range from dealing with performers being out sick, managing technical glitches, and even adapting to variations in the ice condition. These variables, which an audience should never be aware of, are deftly handled due to Tannion’s background as a performer, choreographer, and director, along with his strong managerial skills.

Above all, Tannion emphasizes the importance of maintaining a strong sense of camaraderie and community, inherent in every performance. Despite the challenges, there’s a potent sense of shared journey and adventure, something that he believes forms an integral part of the creative process.

As we gain a deeper insight into the mesmerizing world of Cirque du Soleil through Tannion’s eyes, one thing becomes apparent: The magic of the circus lies not just in its grand performances but also in the collective spirit and heart of its multicultural ensemble. The charm of Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL and the magic that Tannion and his team create on stage is an invitation to all, regardless of language or cultural background, to experience the universal language of circus.

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