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  • Writer's pictureKathy Condon

Acrisure Arena Welcomes Cirque du Soleil to Palm Desert in August

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


Performers from Cirque du Soleil standing in front of Welcome  Palm Springs  sign
Performers in front of Welcome Palm Springs Sign Photo Credit Tara Howard Photography

If you have never seen Cirque de Soleil, here's your chance to see it in our beautiful Acrisure Arena. It is coming to Palm Desert in Coachella Valley from August 31 to September 3. Thus, you have only four short days to see "Corteo" performed by these outstanding athletes. Note this is over Labor Day Weekend.


I was delighted when contacted by the organizers. They asked me if I would like to interview one of the performers. Of course, I said yes. I researched more information about Cirque du Soleil, and I am pleased to share what I learned in this article with you.


History of Cirque du Soleil


The humble beginnings of Cirque du Soleil started in the quaint town of Baie-Saint-Paul near Quebec City, Canada, in the 1980s. To the townspeople's delight, performers on stilts juggled balls, dishes, and sticks lit with fire frequently appeared in the evening to entertain them on cool Canadian nights.


The troupe grew, and Guy Laliberte, one of the members, decided to organize a cultural event. He invited other regional performers to come together in 1983 and then again in 1984. The goal was to share ideas and techniques to enhance their performances, for it was apparent that the community loved this light-hearted interaction.


First Big Break for Cirque du Soleil


Quebec City needed an extravaganza to help celebrate the 450th year of the discovery of the city. They had heard the performers in Baie-Saint-Paul were delighting people with their antics and athletic abilities. The invitation came—the troupe would be one of the attractions for the celebration.


After this successful event, Laliberte started to dream bigger. What if we left the Quebec area and started traveling around the world? He named the newly formed troupe Cirque du Soleil, which means Circus of the Sun.


His idea worked. The troupe went to 10 other Canadian Cities under a big top tent. The first audience of 800 was enthusiastic and helped spread the word about the quality of the event, and the admiration for the performers' abilities continued to grow.


The Second Big Break in the History of Cirque du Soleil


It happened in 1987 when Cirque du Soleil was invited to the Los Angeles Art Festival. After its success there, it moved to San Diego and Santa Monica.


Headquarters in Montreal


The unbridled success enabled the organization to attract the funds to build its headquarters in Montreal in 1997. To this day, though it has been added on to, it is called The Studio and is where the creation and production of the performances have their birth.


They are now in their 18th year. Keep in mind that each year there is an entirely different production. This means the storyline, scenery, costumes, and performing artists must learn new routines. The shows include music with approximately 31 original songs.


Today 4300 performers are performing in 150 cities. Troupes perform in Croatia, Belgium, France, Ireland, the UK, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Austria, Germany, and Denmark.

Performers rolling in giant circles during their Cirque du  Soleil Production
Performing an act from Cirque du Soleil Corteo Photo Credit Cirque du Soleil

Pulling the Curtain Back to See Behind the Scenes of Cirque du Soleil Performances.


When we go to performances, we sit there with anticipation for we have bought our ticket. Since we chose this particular event, we trust we will enjoy it. However, after interviewing some of the staff involved with the production, I have to admit I had no real idea of what had to happen to make this two-hour spectacular event happen.


A Look at the Statistics of the Making of a Cirque du Soleil Production.


  • The Team (The name they use for the entire troupe) consists of 117 people from 27 countries, and 18 languages are spoken. Stop and think about it – that fact alone seems daunting to overcome.


  • The entourage's arrival means 100 people will be hired from the local community. They need extra help with the 12-hour set up and the 4-hour tear down after the show.


  • There are 25 trucks to unload with approximately 700 road cases and 272-panel pieces to construct the floor that fit together like a puzzle.


  • 700 costumes require ironing for 8 hours a day. The costumes consist of 2000 pieces and 200 pairs of shoes.

The 18th creation of Cirque du Soleil Corteo Storyline


There is an innovation with this year's creation: It is the first and only two-sided performance. Thus, it will be easier for more people to view the version fully.


Corteo, which means cortege in Italian. This performance is about a festive parade where a clown feels as though he is attending his funeral in a carnival-like atmosphere. Four angels guide him through an intimate, often silly, and tragic dreamlike world. With their help, his strength, vulnerability, knowledge, and generosity showcase those aspects in him and within all of us.


Never fear. There are plenty of light moments and silliness in the production. So, there will be no heavy hearts leaving the arena.

Joseane suspended in air during her performance in  Cirque du Soleil
Joseane Martins Costa performing in Cirque du Soleil Photo Credit Cirque du Soleil

Interview with Cirque du Soleil Performer


By Zoom, I had a lovely interchange with Joseane Martins Costa, who has performed in Cirque du Soleil since 2018. She is from Brazil; however, I talked to her while she was in Columbus, Ohio, where they are performing.


K: We began our conversation by discussing her degree in Aeronautical Sciences. I asked her how did you decide on this degree focus.


J: She smiled as she relayed her story about her interest in the subject. She said I started ballet when I was three. Then I moved on to gymnastics from seven until I was 12.


Then I got involved with synchronized swimming and was on the Brazilian National Team. We competed in the National Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011 and won a Bronze Metal.


In 2012, I decided I wanted to continue my path of synchronized swimming. Then I saw a performance of Cirque du Soleil and decided to apply. Happily, I was accepted to be trained as an acrobat.


Thus, my life has always been about movement, specifically flying, so it made sense to me to learn more about it for my degree.


K: How do you develop so much trust in the people you are flying on the highwires with?


J: Kathy, all performers must trust not just the people we are on the highwire with. We must trust all 117 members of the Team. The Team members putting the set together are an integral part of the production. We have to trust they have done it correctly and checked it so we will be safe.


K: Where do you stay when you are on the road?


J: We are given a stipend, so we can use it however we desire. Recently, we were in Los Angeles for six weeks. I chose to rent a small place, and it was terrific being stationary for a while so I could relax in my own space for such a long time.


K: How many days a week are you on duty?


J: We are always on duty for 5 days a week. That includes the performances. During those five days, if we are not performing, we are practicing. However, we have entirely off two days a week—our bodies need time to recover.


K: Do you get time to explore the communities you are performing in?


J: Yes, we can do whatever we want on our days off. We have a manager who makes exploring opportunities available to us.


K: Since you are coming to Palm Springs, I'd love to give you and three others a tour of Palm Springs.


J: That would be wonderful.


Joseane was off to what I am assuming was another interview. She is a fabulous spokesperson for the Team.

Cirque du Soleil performers in white flowing skirts in front of Marylyn  statue in Palm Springs
Performers in front of Marilyn Statue in Palm Springs Photo Credits Tara Howard Photography

Attending Opening Night


I am honored to have been invited with a friend to attend the Opening Night of Cirque du Soleil at the Acrisure Arena on August 31. Imagine how different this will be for me since I now have "met" one of the performers.


Again, Cirque du Soleil is coming to Palm Desert at the Acrisure Arena from August 31-September 3, 2023. You can get Cirque du Soleil 2023 tickets here.


I asked Joseane what she liked most about being a Cirque du Soleil Team Member. She replied, "I get to fly and celebrate life every day."


Kathy Condon in white shirt and wearing gold beads
Kathy Condon Journalist and Travel Writer

Kathy Condon is a Journalist, Travel Writer, and Award-winning Author. She is the owner and developer of Palm Springs Insider Guide, a resource for those visiting Palm Springs, California. kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 About









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Guest
Aug 31, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent article! Have seen three performances, all excellent $

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Guest
Jul 18, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So interesting article. Had to idea of history and behind the scenes work….I bit mind boggling.

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Kathy Condon
Kathy Condon
Jul 19, 2023
Replying to

I didn't either, thus, it was a joy to write and learn.

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