Behind the scenes in Abbotsford at Cirque du Soleil

Nine dragon heads are stored backstage at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC).



Nine dragon heads are stored backstage at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC).

Spotlights accent their green eyebrows, orange and yellow feathered-hair, red lips and golden eyes.

They’re located next to a table covered in hand-held fans, lanterns and fake ponytails, topped with a brown briefcase full of bowling pins.

The props are part of Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion, which opens tonight at the AESC, 33800 King Rd.

The show will highlight the quest for harmony between humans and nature with a production by aerialists and dancers, to an international beat.

On Sunday, the cast and crew arrived in town with an entourage of 18 semi-trucks carrying the costumes and set – the latter of which took 10 hours to construct.

On Tuesday afternoon, the arena was buzzing with performers and crew getting back into routine following a two-week break.

Under a spotlight at centre stage, and to the sounds of exotic Spanish music, Marie-Eve Bisson contorts her body on a dangling aerialist hoop.

A cast-mates cheers her on with, “C’est bon, C’est bon!”

Fellow performers, all wearing t-shirts, spandex shorts and special shoes, bounce between the trampoline and the futuristic backdrop, which is used as a diving board and landing pad.

The convex metal wall is meant to represent a large Chinese temple and the world behind it, says artistic assistant James Santos.

Backstage, beyond the black curtain, the aerialists and dancers have a space to prepare for their act. It’s equipped with blue mats, a trampoline, an aerialist hoop and a gym.

Even further backstage, women are hand-painting the show’s numerous red and orange shoes, while costumes representing fire and Earth are being dried by large fans.

Down the hall, the wardrobe room is in full swing, as a team works to stitch and repair the brown, purple, gold and green costumes for the first show.

Dralion has seven performances at the AESC running until Sunday.

To buy tickets visit www.abbotsfordcentre.ca, visit the box office or call 1-866-977- AESC (2372).