Cirque du Soleil Corteo a Splendid and Whimsical Dream

Last night I had the joy of attending Cirque du Soliel Corteo in Atlanta. And, I even had the chance to go backstage to check out the rehearsal, warmups and some of the props and wardrobe. It’s not too often that I get invited backstage to a Cirque du Soleil show, in fact, it’s never. As a long time fan of the world-famous show name, going backstage for me was basically like one of the coolest things I’ve ever done (and I’ve done some pretty cool things).


Before I arrived at the Infinite Energy Arena in Atlanta where the show is being held until September 2, 2018, I had never seen a Corteo performance. I saw the press kit and read through the press release, but you just can’t truly grasp a Cirque du Soleil performance until you see it unravel before your eyes. And this time, leading up to the performance, I had the chance to see it all unpacked before the show.


Cirque du soleil Corteo


About Cirque du Soliel Corteo


Created by Guy Laliberté Corteo first premiered in Montreal in 2005. Since then it has performed in more than 60 cities in 19 different countries as a Big Top show before transforming into an arena show in 2016. Now, in 2018, more than 8 million people have been captivated by the dream world of Corteo.


There are 15 different nationalities represented by flags which make up the cast of Corteo. Performers are from Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States and Uzbekistan.


Cirque du soleil Corteo, props

The flags represent all the nationalities in the cast photo Christa Thompson


Cirque du Soleil Corteo Backstage


Interview with Corteo’s Publicist Maxwell Batista


I didn’t have a whole lot of time backstage, but I did get to see some pretty cool stuff and have a great chat with the show’s publicist Maxwell Batista. We talked about the performance, logistics, safety, and even a super cool tunnel system.


First, we talked about the story of Corteo which follows a clown named Mauro who is having a very vivid dream about his funeral which takes place in a carnival setting. And while that might seem macabre, it’s actually a celebration of his life. To turn a live performance into a dream, there are a lot of whimsical acts which involve floating, wardrobe, and four different languages.


Corteo, which means “cortege” in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown. The show brings together the passion of the actor with the grace and power of the acrobat to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.” -Press Release  Cirque du Soleil Corteo


Cirque du soleil Corteo, Backstage

Backstage photo Christa Thompson


Keeping in mind that many of these performers have been perfecting their talents since they were children, and all of them have gone through the Cirque du Soleil School in Montreal, they are always evolving their skillset. Keeping their talents fresh is what makes them hireable for future shows. One of the things they learn in school is how to do their own makeup. Since Corteo is a traveling show, there is limited space for staff. This means no makeup artists. They also hire stagehands in the city where they are performing to unpack and set up the entire show in one day, then pack it all up again a few days later.


Cirque du soleil Corteo, backstage

Backstage photo Christa Thompson


I learned that above all, safety is the show’s most important goal. They have performance therapists who watch every move the performers make during the show. They evaluate the performers before, during and after each show as well to ensure that they are in top condition. And if that’s not enough, they even get two massages a week (and sometimes an ice bath). Still, injuries and fatigue can and do happen. So in order to keep the show going, they change up routines or add a replacement until the performer is fit for full duty.


Cirque du soleil Corteo

Stephanie Ortega rehearsing her rope performance photo Christa Thompson


During my backstage tour, I was able to watch Stephanie Ortega rehearse for her rope act as well as the orchestra get ready for their captivating performance. One of the coolest things I got to see was the secret tunnel system that runs directly under the stage. This is how the performers go from one side of the stage to the other on a horizontal pully system. Basically, there are performers going back and forth on this thing the entire show. I’m not going to lie, I totally wanted to try it!


Cirque du soleil Corteo, backstage

The tunnel beneath the stage transports performers to either side of the stage with a horizontal pulley system. photo Christa Thompson


I also had the chance to watch a few of the performers warm up and check out the props and wardrobe. There are 80 costumes for Corteo’s cast designed by Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux. Check out some of my backstage photos below.


Cirque du soleil Corteo, backstage

Performers warming up photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo

Getting ready to play photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo, backstage

Helium Dance props backstage photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo, props

Bed prop photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo, props

Bed prop photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo, backstage

Wardrobe photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo, backstage

Wardrobe photo Christa Thompson


Seeing Corteo for the First Time was Like Watching a Dream in Real Life


There have been fine artists who have depicted dreams. One in particular who comes to mind in Salvador Dali who’s paintings have left millions feeling like they were dreaming. But to create a stage performance that depicts a dream, now that’s nothing short of fantastic. And that’s exactly what the creators of Corteo have done. From swinging chandeliers to floating beds and even a performer floating over the audience with giant balloons, every second of Corteo is like something from the most whimsical and fantastic dream you’ve ever had.


Cirque du soleil Corteo

Opening curtain photo Christa Thompson


One thing that struck me was the language. Hearing conversations bounce from French to Italian and Spanish to English was captivating. It made the show that much more magical and hearing the dialects was like listening to a relaxing song. It just kind of swept me away as I got lost in the performance.


Cirque du soleil Corteo

Chandeliers photo Christa Thompson


I had three absolute favorite acts. The opening act of the chandeliers which was designed by the creator who used to lay under his grandmother’s chandelier as a child and dream of swinging on it. In this act, three massive chandeliers are used as performance swings with acrobats weaving in and out of the bars. It was absolutely mesmerizing.


Cirque du soleil Corteo

Floating bed photo Christa Thompson


My second favorite act was the floating bed where the clown lay dreaming about his funeral surrounded by a variety of characters. As the bed floated around, some of the characters floated with it. The whole scene was very dreamlike and really gave the audience a sense of departure from their consciousness.


Cirque du soleil Corteo

Helium dance with the Little Clowness Photo Christa Thompson

Cirque du soleil Corteo

Helium dance with the Little Clowness Photo Christa Thompson


My third favorite scene was the “Helium Dance” which depicts a special moment between Mauro and his little Clowness who entrances the audience by floating over them with massive helium balloons. It was shocking and exhilarating all in one as this little Clowness bounced aimlessly off the hands of spectators with a delightful tiny laugh that simply gave me all the warm and fuzzies.


If you haven’t gotten your tickets to see Corteo yet then don’t wait, this is a Cirque du Soleil that shouldn’t be missed.



Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo will play at the Infinite Energy Arena from August 29 – September 2


Show Schedule:

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, August 30, 2018 – 7:30 pm

Friday, August 31, 2018 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, September 1, 2018 – 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm

Sunday, September 2, 2018 – 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm

For tickets and additional information visit


Follow #Corteo on social


Twitter: @Cirque

Instagram: @cirquedusoleil


Cirque du soleil Corteo

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

11 Comments on this post

  1. This sounds so impressive. I really like Cirque du Soleil and I’d be super excited to see this new show. It’s really cool that you were able to see some of what goes on behind the scenes.

    Liz Mays / Reply
  2. I always look forward to what journey Cirque will take me on next. I haven’t been to a show in too long, time to get tickets!

    Jenna Wood / Reply
  3. I would love to see a Cirque du Soleil show. I grew up only hours away from Montreal and Quebec City and have yet to see one. I see that they are coming to Toronto soon so I will have to see about getting tickets.

    Sherry / Reply
  4. I would LOVE to see this show! They are one of my most favorite shows of all time! I hope they come to town where I live! This looks awesome!

    Jeanette / Reply
  5. The amount of work and practice that go into these shows is amazing! I love how talented these performers are!

    Amy Desrosiers / Reply
  6. Honestly, I never thought I would be interested in Cirque du Soleil until now. Your pictures and description of everything is MAGICAL! I wanna see them now!

    Jeni Hawkins / Reply
  7. The last Cirque du soleil show I saw was in Vegas. I loved it! They always put on a great show.

    Aubrey / Reply
  8. That sounds like an amazing show. Not that I have ever seen a bad Cirque du Soliel show….

    robin rue / Reply
  9. I have always been enamored with Cirque du Soleil but still have yet to get to a show. I am going to have to make a concentrated effort now!

    Chelley Martinka / Reply
  10. I saw one of the Cirque du Soleil years ago. It was awesome and i would love to see this show.

    Rachel / Reply
  11. This looks like it would be so much fun! I would love to go to one of their shows one day.

    Becca Wilson / Reply

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