Elisa Tauro, Acrobat at Cirque du Soleil's "O" - Part 1 - StageLync
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Elisa Tauro, Acrobat at Cirque du Soleil’s “O” – Part 1

Elisa Tauro grew up in Toronto and, from a very young age dreamed of becoming a circus acrobat. 1 year ago, she became part of the cast of Cirque du Soleil’s show O in Las Vegas. A position every circus acrobat dreams about. In this first part of our interview, Elisa tells us what brought her there.

Hello, my name is Elisa Tauro and I currently live in Las Vegas. I am having my 1-year anniversary at Cirque du Soleil’s O. A magnificent aquatic circus show, which this year celebrates its 24th anniversary. And, for the longest time, it’s been my dream to work there. So, where did it all start?

I did gymnastics as a child. When I was 6 years old, I went on vacation to Club Med with my family. They offered flying trapeze sessions for kids. I really wanted to try. And, after my first time trying it, I absolutely loved it. My parents told me, the second I got down from the trapeze, I beamed and said immediately, “I wanna do it again!” My mom swears, in that moment it was clear to her that I’d become an acrobat. I fell in love with the circus. Over the years, we kept going to Club Med, and each time we did I went on the trapeze.

My family is Italian. We have a large family, and it was very important that we all eat together. That was kind of a golden rule, bringing us all together. So, when I was ten, I quit gymnastics because my mom didn’t like that I spent more time in the gym than at home. That being said, my mom was always very supportive. Essentially, I come from a family of artists. My mom’s whole family consists of musicians. And the arts have thus always been important in our family. My mom sings. My uncles play instruments. Overall, my parents have been and are very good at fostering an open environment where everyone can do what they love. Actually, my parents were the ones who convinced me to run away and join the circus.

When I was 20, I went to university. I studied biology and didn’t like it at all. After a year, I went home. And my mom said, “Why don’t you go to Club Med and perform instead? You always loved that.” So, when I was 21, I followed her advice and my heart, went to Club Med and began working at my very first circus show. I learned a lot of new acrobatic disciplines there, silks for example. It was a hard job. You don’t make a lot of money and you work long days. But you kind of grow up there. My coach was the old-school-tough-love type and I remember crying every day. But I think especially in the beginning you kind of need that tough love to set things straight. Nothing is hard after that.

After Club Med, I wanted to continue with flying trapeze. So, I joined a flying trapeze crew, and we did the whole thing of living in a trailer, and touring from town to town with the carnival. It was again a very hard life. Literally everything felt easy after that.

Then I went back to school. I had hurt my wrist and needed physio for a while to get it back to its full strength and I realized I should probably have something to fall back on in case something happened, and I couldn’t perform anymore. You just never know what will happen when performing. This time at university I studied kinesiology. And I loved what I was studying. I was happy to be there. But I realized I love performing more.

So, after 2 years of university, I made the decision to stop studying again and went back to performing. I don’t think I’d have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t tried performing again. This time around, I got hired by a cruise ship company. It was my first big job. Most of the jobs I had were very short notice. For the cruise ship job, I left within a week. They asked, “Can you come? And before I could say “no,” I said “yes.”

Then, I went to La Perle in Dubai. I sent an email and asked if they needed someone. And they answered, “We’d love to have you. Can you come in a week?” I had to race back home to Canada from the cruise ship, packed my stuff, and moved to Dubai. It was the biggest move I had ever done. Going to a large resident show in the Middle East, a place I had never set foot in before. Then, the same short-notice thing happened with O.

I had been talking to them for a while because I had always wanted to go work for O. I talked to them around 3 years ago, when I was still at La Perle. Thought I might leave La Perle, then decided to stay. Shortly after, I needed shoulder surgery. So, in the end it was good I didn’t go. Then, right before Covid, Cirque du Soleil contacted me. But then, of course, everything shut down.

During the pandemic, I went back to Toronto. I did cooking videos with my mom. That was my pandemic project and a lot of fun. At that time, I was already in my thirties. I thought, “Maybe it’s time to retire from the circus. And who knows if the industry will ever come back.” So, I decided, “Let’s go back to school!” to finally finish my studies.

After a while, when things slowly opened up again during the pandemic, I thought, “Yeah, I won’t get O anymore. They’ve already started rehearsing. They don’t need me.” Then, one day, while I was writing an exam, I got a phone call from Montreal. And for some reason I thought it was spam. It was an unknown number. So, I kind of answered hesitantly, “Hello?” And a friendly voice said, “Is this Elisa? This is casting from Cirque du Soleil. We just want to`know if you’re still interested in O?” And I was like, “Yeah, who wouldn’t be!? When would you want me to come?” And they said, “Well, we’d need you next week.” I was writing my last exam. And I had nothing else after, so I answered, “Yes, absolutely. I’ll be there.”

But I hadn’t done much during the pandemic. I had still worked out and I was still kind of in shape. But not in circus shape. A week later, I moved to Vegas. This was definitely the hardest move for me thus far. Just because it’s such a big, famous show.The act was so intimidating as well. I do Bateau. The swinging boats. You can only train for this skill at O. Nowhere else. Learning a new skill at this stage was challenging. But totally rewarding, because when you do finally get it, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

We acrobats are all perfectionists in our own way. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I realized, you have to go easy on yourself. Not compare yourself to others. Because others have been doing this particular skill for 10 years maybe. You need to acknowledge that you’re new at this and learning. But beginning my work at O was definitely mentally and physically challenging.

Find out, how life at Cirque du Soleil’s O developed for Elisa in part 2 of this interview!

This article was originally published on TheatreArtLife.com.  

Liam Klenk
Liam Klenk was born in Central Europe and has since lived on four continents. Liam has always been engaged in creative pursuits, ranging from photography and graphic design, to writing short stories and poetry, to working in theatre and shows. In 2016, Liam published his first book and memoir, ‘Paralian’.

Editor's Note: At StageLync, an international platform for the performing arts, we celebrate the diversity of our writers' backgrounds. We recognize and support their choice to use either American or British English in their articles, respecting their individual preferences and origins. This policy allows us to embrace a wide range of linguistic expressions, enriching our content and reflecting the global nature of our community.

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Liam Klenk

Liam Klenk was born in Central Europe and has since lived on four continents. Liam has always been engaged in creative pursuits, ranging from photography and graphic design, to writing short stories and poetry, to working in theatre and shows. In 2016, Liam published his first book and memoir, ‘Paralian’.