The Cirque du Soleil has stayed in the headlines for years. Local residents will get a taste of the stunning and daring circus-style gymnastics that make Cirque due Soleil so successful as the Givens Performing Arts Center bring Cirque Montage to its stage.

This show is unlike any other. It has the stunning and daring circus style gymnastics of Cirque du Soleil but joins them with theatrical aspects like those of a more traditional play. 

“Patrons should expect to experience a theatrical circus show. This is not the typical circus, it actually has a lot more actual theatre aspects, a story line, a lot of comedy and audience participation,” explained Michael Manzanet, the producer and creative director of the show. 

Manzanet, a former performer with Cirque du Soleil, is excited to bring the show to the area. While with Cirque du Soleil, his act involved leaping and swinging from a trapeze with bungee cords secured around his waist. He describes soaring out over the audience at dizzying heights, all while managing his fear of heights. He called it both terrifying and invigorating. Manzanet moved more towards performance arts. 

“There is a lot less rigging and a lot more theatrics. The focus is on the performers, not so much on the technology,” he says. 

The focus on the actors does not mean that the show is any less gasp worthy. When asked to describe his favorite moment in the show Manzanet said, “There are lots of wow moments. There is this moment at the end when Reagan, a character in the play who eventually finds her way that is very moving. The audience follows her the entire show and then realizes that she never gave up on her dream.“

Putting on such an incredible show takes a massive amount of work. Touring adds a special level of complication. There are certain pieces that each performer needs for their gravity defying acts. Constantly moving all of theses pieces to new and different venues takes a lot of work. 

“We have to get really creative. Every venue is unique. We have to individually modify the set to fit any venue. Each setting is different but the show is very flexible, we can make it fit any height. Our free aerial apparatus is a key piece for our show and the apparatus can go up and down to fit any height. The set is made of a stretch fabric 50 feet wide and 10 feet high. The entire set can break down to fit into pieces to fit any theatre but provide the feel of a larger venue, which makes it easier to move.“ 

He added that all of hard work is worth it to see the joy and excitement of the audience. 

The Givens Performing Arts Center located at the University of North Carolina Pembroke is bringing some amazing performances to the community. The 2015-2016 season features We are The Music Makers!, En Vogue, Menopause, The Musical, Flashdance: The Musical, David Benoil: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Ailey II, The Hit Men and Once. All of these incredible shows encompass many different styles of performance. There is truly something for everyone this season. 

Cirque Montage is on stage at the Givens Performing Arts Center on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $36 to $21. Tickets for all shows can be purchased by calling 910-521-6361. For more information, visit www.unco.edu/giving/advancement/givens-performing-arts-center. The Givens Performing Arts Center is located at 1 University Drive in Pembroke. 

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