One of Cirque du Soleil’s most beloved productions, after wrapping up an exclusive six-performance run at Houston’s Toyota Center, many are wondering just how the masterful performers behind Corteo do it. Featuring 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors from across the globe, the theatrical masterpiece has become a fan favorite.
Taking time out of an incredibly hectic schedule, former performer and current coach Jackson “Kaj” Kanukai spoke with Houston Style Magazine to deliver a few tips of the trade and insight into the magical world of Cirque du Soleil Corteo. After being approached during the Vegas run of Mystere, Kanukai officially came board during the original run of Corteo.
With unique production and direction by Daniele Finzi Pasca, Corteo has delighted audiences in over 64 cities and 19 countries, through the tale of a clown picturing his own funeral inside of a carnival via a joyous procession as angels guide his way.
Style Mag: Corteo had an incredible run during its first release in 2005, what prompted the company to bring this specific show back? And for those that have never been to a Cirque Soleil showcase, what sets it apart?
Kaj: It’s very different from any other show; it’s definitely very special. I think it’s a classic and in general just a really beautiful, timeless piece. So I’m thinking that in the arena format it’ll be even more special.
Style Mag: How has the transition been for you, moving from artist to coach?
Kaj: I did Corteo from its creation. So during that time I’ve kind of transitioned and gone into doing different things and stunts. Unfortunately, I got injured at the end and got into the coaching side, but with anything, I think that there’s always that desire to keep performing. I’ll never say never when it comes to that.
Like any other high level acrobats, it’s just the nature of the business. You’ll pick up injuries and sometimes freak accidents happen, but thankfully we’ve got a really great medical team. There are some things that look like they’d be more susceptible to injury from the outside eye, like, I think some of these trampoline guys are crazy (laughs), but we try to minimize the risk with strength and conditioning training.
Read the full interview at Houston Style Magazine - March 2018