Australian performers in the internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil say young children wanting to join the circus can dare to dream, but not without being prepared to make sacrifices along the way.
Acrobats Kristie Wade and Peter Kismartoni are in the middle of an Australian tour of TORUK, the latest stop on a seemingly never-ending odyssey for the adventurous Aussies.
The circus dream began for Ms Wade, 27, when she was in the audience for a Cirque Du Soleil show at an early age.
“I started training in circus when I was nine,” she said.
“I saw a Cirque du Soleil show and told my mum that day, that that’s what I wanted to do and so thankfully that worked out,” she said on a break from the show’s Adelaide run.
The Sydney-born performer has been with the company since 2015 after years of training and performing, which included time with the Sydney Flying Trapeze School and the International School of Arts Beijing.
Ms Wade loves the touring and travelling life but it does come with challenges.
“We are moving constantly, not just on stage, but travelling as well, so a lot of us are tired a lot of the time,” she said.
“It’s maintenance, a healthy diet, enough sleep, making sure we’re doing other things besides the show as well, to keep your body and your brain active.”
Melbourne performer Peter Kismartoni began gymnastics at the age of five. (Supplied: Cirque du Soleil)
Living the dream but working for it
Melbournian Peter Kismartoni auditioned for Cirque du Soleil in 2007 and has made Las Vegas his second home.
But being part of touring shows like TORUK — a production set in the same universe as the popular Hollywood film, Avatar — is both a dream and a challenge.
“It’s like a gymnastics competition that you prepare for and do once every few months, whereas here you’re doing it every day, sometimes twice a day performing,” Mr Kismartoni said as he nursed a shoulder injury he constantly manages.
“It’s pretty wearing — physically and mentally.”
While they are living the dream, both performers eventually see themselves coming home.
“It’s definitely made me more worldly and I am not sure where I’m going to end up one day,” Ms Wade said.
“I really love moving and feel like travelling for a long time if my career and finances enable me to do that.
“However, Australia is my home. It’s beautiful and I’m really about the beach and the warm weather and a relaxing lifestyle, so I would at least say I’d retire here.”
As for youngsters who might want to follow in the pair’s footsteps, Ms Wade has some sage advice.
“I’ve definitely seen little kids in the crowd and thought, ‘Oh, there’s a mini-me’.
“I know exactly how you are feeling. I would tell them it’s a difficult and long process and it takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice to really get to the level you need to be at mentally and physically, but it’s so worth it,” she said.
TORUK is in Adelaide until Sunday before it moves onto Perth, Dubai, Zagreb and Bangkok.