World premiere brings circus flair

By Arne Sjostedt

To close off the year and give families a unique opportunity to welcome in the holiday season, the Canberra Theatre is hosting the thrilling world premiere of Cirque Stratosphere. Loaded with stunts and tricks that will blow your mind, the team that has brought audiences shows like the Le Grand Cirque and The Illusionists are promising to impress. Master of the seesaw-like teeterboard, Dennis Kibenko says “This is a family show, the show caters for all ages. There is something for everyone.”


Talking about some of the more risky stunts the show will involve, “One of our performers in the group does a triple tuck. It’s a dangerous trick to perform so we must be focused and well trained, “ Kibenko says.


Training often together to learn new tricks and evolve as a group, Kibenko says “The main theme is the story of the Apollo 11 mission which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, of the first man to land on the moon. It is a lot of fun.”


With stunts on rollerskates, acrobatics on a Russian Bar – where the performer is thrown in the air by two partners holding the bar – sky-high contortions in an aerial sphere, and the Russian Swing to Swing, obviously, safety is a major concern.


“Training is safety,” says Kibenko. “We are always focused when we train and when we are doing the act. We learn each others' roles in the act in case we need to replace one another. The group has well placed mats that are made for our act for our landings.”


Though this is a world premiere, a professional Kibenko is cool when asked if this will add more tension to the performance.


“No we are not stressed about it, it is just a new location new stage and we are really happy to be in Australia performing for the first time.”


To get ready for this performance, he says that the group puts the music together, then works on the show for around three weeks, and train at the gym five times a week to be in “the best condition possible.”

This is a new act in Russia, Kibenko says. “It is not traditional and has been around for only about three years. There are not so many groups who perform teeterboard. Only about two troupes have a high level of skill and we are one of them.”

Cirque Stratosphere is playing the Canberra Theatre Centre until 21 December. For details visit canberratheatrecentre.com.au

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