They come bouncing out of the Lethbridge Lodge Hotel, looking like any group of young adults.
Backpacks slung over shoulders, earbuds firmly in place, many carrying Kindles or paperback books.
They board the large bus waiting at the back of the hotel for them and look like any group heading out for a day at the beach or doing some touring.
Not this group, though.
They’re Cirque du Soleil performers headed to the city’s Enmax Centre for hours of training before the evening show.
And, it’s while they work backstage that these young men and women, some of them still in their late teens, transform.
Even without the makeup, the wigs and the colourful costumes, wearing just warm-up and exercise clothes, they become something else as they run through their parts of Quidam, the next Cirque show headed to Kelowna.
Their bodies move in ways most of us would never attempt.
They think nothing of soaring dozens of feet above the concrete floor of the facility, trusting their co-performers to catch them after they spiral and somersault and flip.
Fifteen semi-trailers rolled into Lethbridge for the seven shows, accompanied by 52 performers representing 23 countries, 22 full-time technicians and the other specialists who ensure the two-hour show being taken through Western Canada goes off nightly without a hitch.
The cast gets Mondays and Tuesdays off, then starts in with training on Wednesdays, opening days in each location the troupe is visiting.
They’ll go through their segments, do some exercising, stretching, head for the massage therapist, maybe take in a mixed-martial arts class Canadian performer JP Viens leads once a week.
Later in the afternoon, before dinner and the 6 p.m. pre-show cast meeting, they’ll start to put on their makeup, get their costumes ready and relax before the 7:30 p.m. curtain.
Quidam — the name comes from Latin and means somebody; one unknown — draws its inspirations from “New York on a rainy day,” said public-relations spokesperson Jessica Leboeuf.
Franco Dragone, the man behind the 16-year-old show, wanted to take a look at connections and disconnections, at how people can seem busy but are really only thinking about themselves and about strangers in a crowd who, if you asked, would have a story to tell.
The plot, in essence, revolves around Zoe (Alessandra Gonzalez, who is also one of the main singers). Her parents neglect her, lost in their own world, so she creates her own world of Quidam, where she meets unique characters.
Quidam is considered “one of the classic shows that represents what has made the company famous,” Leboeuf said.
It’s headed to Kelowna this week, opening on Wednesday and continuing with shows through to Aug. 26
Tickets are at selectyourtickest.com, (250) 762-5050, or at the box office at Prospera Place.
–– Dale Bass is a reporter with Kamloops This Week.