A day with Cirque du Soleil Moon Goddess

Air Yogalates

Yannick Déry Costumes: Mérédith Caron © 2012 Cirque du Soleil

LONDON, United Kingdom — Saturday morning in London, baby Asa wakes up her mother. A typical day has started for many young families around the world. The only difference is that, after feeding her baby girl and spending the morning at home with her, the Canadian born young mother will then turn into a flying, singing goddess, mesmerising thousands of people at the Royal Albert Hall of London.

Let me introduce you to the talented, death defying aerial acrobat, singer, mother, and business woman Marie-Michelle Faber.

More than 5000 shows with Cirque du Soleil

After an elite career in artistic gymnastics, Faber’s unique talent started enhancing some of Cirque du Soleil’s greatest touring shows. Since 1998, Marie-Michelle has performed more than five thousand shows worldwide, with Quidam, Corteo and Amaluna productions, as an aerial specialist and vocalist.

Like a normal family

Marie-Michelle is having an early breakfast with baby Asa. While enjoying her caffe latte and morning delicacies, Marie-Michelle admits she will have a second breakfast in approximately two hours, giggling a bit at how that may sound. Matthew, her life partner and Asa’s father, joins them in the kitchen for a family moment. He also works for Cirque du Soleil as a sound engineer.

The company’s performing schedules are very demanding, and if you are a soloist like Marie-Michelle, the pressure involved on a daily basis is even greater. The level of energy and concentration must be ceaseless in order to avoid injuries. Being the mother of a young child only adds to the challenge. A life job that Marie-Michelle defines as the most demanding but rewarding work she has ever faced. The young parents highly prioritise bonding time with their little one. I think Asa’s life is like a fairy tale, but with structure and a deep feeling of security.

A few hours later, while Asa is napping, Marie-Michelle turns into a business woman as she handles different tasks related to her own company which she created and co-founded. Air Yogalates is a creative and innovative training method combining yoga, pilates and circus techniques.

The mother turns into an acrobat

Air Yogalates

At noon, Marie-Michelle leaves Asa with the babysitter who follows them on tour with the circus. Direction Royal Albert Hall where Amaluna is currently performing.

As soon as she arrives, she starts her transformation to become the Moon Goddess, one of Amaluna’s main characters in the show. It takes her seventy-five minutes to artfully apply a colourful make-up including twenty-three Swarovski stones glued onto her face.

After she puts on the final touch, her crown, the visual part of the character is ready. Marie-Michelle will then have to warm up her voice and proceed to the sound check on stage for approximately thirty minutes. Soon after, she starts warming up carefully, every part of her body, for another sixty minutes. This body preparation also includes a breathing routine to put herself in the right mindset and inner state required for her to perform at best.

Let the show begin

Air Yogalates

Courtesy Cirque du Soleil

It is now time to wear her marvellous light blue costume, clip her microphone onto her hair and climb up on the grid; her stand-by position for her first appearance in the show. She appears from the sky perched on her aerial hoop singing her soul to the audience during one of the first scenes of the show.

Her role of the Moon Goddess is quite meaningful for the storyline of Amaluna. The spectators follow the journey of Miranda’s coming of age. The Moon Goddess character gives Miranda protection, courage and strength, transmission of knowledge and femininity.

It is time for Marie-Michelle to prepare psychologically for her solo act in the show. In order to do so, the artist has her own mantra:

My Body is Strong
My Heart is Pure
My Mind is Clear
My Soul is Free

Singing live during her aerial performance requires very specific skills that she acquired throughout her career and further developed during the creation of Amaluna in Cirque du Soleil’s Montreal headquarters. Every breath has to be synchronised to the proper body movement in order to gracefully execute her acrobatic skills while singing in tune and sharing the right emotion with her audience.

Everyday the same and yet so different

For Marie-Michelle, the performance is different every single time even if, for the eyes of many, she does the exact same things flawlessly. Once in a while, mistakes remind her of the precision needed for her work.

For example, during a very emotional part of the show, she hands a crystal ball to Miranda. One time, the ball dropped on the floor creating a horrible noise and contrasting widely with the poetic moment the audience was supposed to experience. Marie-Michelle admits she almost burst out laughing which would have been a catastrophe since her microphone was on and the music was very minor at that moment.

Marie-Michelle admits being able to hide, with much more confidence, any acrobatic mistakes than singing mistakes. Her aerial experience keeps her in security although she performs the most dangerous stunts. In the words of Marie-Michelle:

Singing is so connected to your emotions that the purity of it can hardly lie.

After a last few appearances of the Moon Goddess on stage and a final bow, Marie-Michelle relaxes for an hour before starting her preparation for the second show.

The whole cast and crew repeat the whole show for a second time in the day. After that all the artists take off their costumes and make-up and Marie-Michelle joins Matthew in his technical truck before they go back home much to Asa’s excitement.

Marie-Michelle is back to being a normal person, for a few hours, before it starts all over again for another double performance day tomorrow.

Courtesy of: Marie-Michelle Faber | Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/mariemichelle.faber
Erika Lemay About the author

Internationally awarded performer and public personality. Her ability to move any type of audience, her artistry and stunning acrobatics, makes her today, one of the most revered artists around the world. Visit Erika Lemay FG Special Guest Profile »

Comments

  1. Lorraine B.Faber ( her Mom ) :

    I truly enjoyed your article….Marie Michelle is such an inspiration to all that know her…I have often told her…you are everything I would want to be…we are so proud of her…she is a wonderful Mom, a wonderful artist, but mostly a wonderful person…thank you Erica for this story.xoxoxo

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