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Always Grow; Always Evolve; Always Strive For More


This post and this lesson come courtesy of my behind-the-scenes visit with Cirque Du Soleil’s KA! in Las Vegas. And lest you be the least bit unclear, I am totally obsessed with KA! You can read my previous two posts about it here and here.

I’ve seen it three times. I’ve been given the chance to see in Cirque show in Vegas and I choose that one every time.  There are many reasons for this – two of which I will share. The first is that if I saw a show that wasn’t as good as KA!, I’d be mad. Maybe next time I’m in Vegas I can hedge my bets and see KA! and something else too.  The second reason I choose to see KA! is because of what it does to me – inside.

You can read my two other posts to get more on that, but I will say that for 90 minutes, KA! transports to me to a world of utter amazement, of astonishing accomplishment, of courage beyond words. I walk out to the theatre with a heart wildly beating with inspiration and alive with incredible possibilities.

So with all that said, you can imagine my excitement at getting to watch an actual rehearsal of one of my favorite scenes from the show. It was truly the highlight of my time in Vegas.

What is so unbelievable about this scene is that it takes place on a platform that is perpendicular to the floor. The artists are harnessed in and control each and every movement as they progress through a chess-like fight scene, completely with aerial acrobatics and a pyro-technic ending. Watching the physical strength and discipline combined with the necessary artistry as they moved was breathtaking. (Which I fully expected.)

Here’s the part I did not expect.

KA! has been running for six years. Which is a really long time for a show. Many of the original artists are still in the cast. And there are also wildly talented newcomers.   The easy choice for Cirque would be to just teach the newcomers the choreography of their part. It works; it’s successful; it requires the least effort.

But Cirque doesn’t make easy choices. That is the reason they are cited in business books around the globe. That is why they are synonymous with innovation and creativity and blue oceans.

Instead, they allow – no – they insist that the show always grow and evolve, tapping into the skills and talents every single artist brings to the table.

The rehearsal I got to watch is a perfect example. I wasn’t watching the rehearsal of the scene as it would be performed that evening. I was watching the rehearsal for the scene as it will be performed in January 2011.  New characters added to the scene, new choreography, new acrobatics.  No settling for what has worked or even for what is currently working. Always striving for more.

So, as always, I left my experience with KA! reflecting on how I can take that attitude and that spirit and embody it in my own work.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 🙂

I want to thank Jessica Berlin for arranging my behind-the-scenes experience and Jeff Lovari for being such a wonderful host (and for putting up with my incessant commentary!). Team Cirque rocks!

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