cirque du soliel bazzar

Cirque Du Soliel’s BAZZAR Comes to Life Under the Big Top!

Cirque du Soliel is returning to Tampa Bay for its 40th anniversary with the debut of BAZZAR, a family-friendly, high-energy spectacle of daring acrobatics, dynamic stunts, and exhilarating performances at the Tropicana Field stadium. Led by their maestro, this electrifying troupe will unite to invent a whimsical one-of-a-kind universe. In a place where the unexpected is expected, the colorful group imagines, builds, and invents vibrant scenes in an artistic and acrobatic game.

The show runs February 22 through March 24, 2024, and we recently got the chance to hang out backstage during rehearsals to find out what exactly goes into making BAZZAR come to life and what you can expect from this spectacular show!

The Performers

The show features cast of 35 performers and musicians from all over the world, including a few former contestants from Canada’s Got Talent. The acts in the show include teeterboard, acrobatic bike, contortion, duo roller skate, duo trapeze, aerial rope, hair suspension, fire manipulation, slackline, and, for the FIRST TIME in Cirque history, Mallakhamb – a traditional Indian sport where a gymnast performs aerial yoga postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole.

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Cirque performers warming up for BAZZAR backstage

Before taking the stage, performers go through extensive training at various circus schools, most notably, the Ecole nationale de cirque (National Circus School) in Montreal, which is also the home base for Cirque du Soliel. All acts are choreographed by a Cirque choreographer to keep consistency among understudies and replacement performers.

The Costumes

Aside from the incredible acts, the costumes are also stars of the show at Cirque du Soliel! And to make sure nothing comes apart at the seams, the whole wardrobe department travels with the show. From fabrics to threads, the sewing machines are constantly being put to use. Costumes are looked over and cleaned in between acts (including same day back-to-back shows!) to ensure consistency and durability. And yes – they even travel with their own washers and dryers!

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Backstage wardrobe at BAZZAR

For this particular show, Cirque is paying homage to its roots in celebration of its 40th anniversary. Colors and patterns reflect the style of the mid-1980s, using a mix of funky, bright colors and old-world style costumes.

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Even the shoes are hand painted for BAZZAR!

Along with elaborate costumes comes elaborate makeup. Each performer is responsible for doing their own makeup. They’re put through a training session where a makeup artist will make up half their face and the performers are responsible for recreating the other half.

The Show

When they’re not performing, they’re rehearsing or stretching and warming up in a special area set up backstage. The entire big top travels with them and takes several days and multiple crews to set up. The inside is designed in a way where every seat has a great view! The circular pattern and smaller stage gives each seat the advantage of feeling up close and personal to the acts.

The inspiration for this show comes from a traditional “bazaar,” a marketplace of merriment and creative camaraderie. It promises to be filled with high-energy excitement, collision of sounds and colors, and meeting place of diverse characters.

Performing and Parenting

Being a performer in Cirque du Soliel is challenging and demanding enough. Having to balance being a performer and a parent definitely requires a lot of balance. We caught up with Teeterboard Artist, Patrick Schumann, who is from Germany and has been with Cirque Du Soliel since 2010. Patrick is one of the key performers who opens the show every night and is also dad to two-and-a-half-year-old Livi, who tags along with him and his wife, Sabrina. 

TBPM: Tell us about your role in BAZZAR.

Patrick: We are the troop who opens the show. So, we are the first act. We’re sending out great energy trying to set the standard on a high base. There are a lot of people on stage at the beginning, so it’s not just us as an actor, it’s a lot of dancers and other people involved and it’s basically we are the chaos. We start with the chaos and craziness and then it’s it slowly builds up to maestro’s wishes. 

TBPM: You’re also a dad. And so tell us how that is, having your family with you when you come on tour.

Patrick: Livi, my daughter, was born during the pandemic. She’s only 2 1/2-year-old now. The first time she traveled, she was three months old. She’s with us every city and her mom, Sabrina, also came here and left everything behind in Germany. She was a backstage manager, head usher and now she got her own department. Now she is the food and beverage manager in the front of house.

TBPM: What does Livi think of the show and when she sees you on stage?

Patrick: It’s actually funny because she grew up with it like since she was still not born, but still in the belly. She was already on the shows basically. So for her, it’s like it’s a normal thing. She sees me jumping on the stage, sees me on posters. I’m on a lot of posters and commercial stuff. So, yeah, it’s kind of normal for her. She’s happy about it. She hugs the poster when she sees it. It’s funny. . 

TBPM: How did you get started doing this? 

Patrick: I was a gymnast and started at 4 years old in Germany, and by the time I was 13, I quit and didn’t like it too much anymore. But there was a friend twice a week going to in the afternoon to a circus thing and would ask me if I wanted to go with him. I went and never left. 

And then Cirque Soleil was in town in Berlin, Germany at this time and they have a project called Cirque de Mont. They tried to do something with kids in every city and back then, I was one of these. They helped me to go to the right school in Canada. So, I did my college in in Montreal.

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Patrick and the troupe at Cirque du Soliel’s BAZZAR

TBPM: How do you balance Cirque life and parent life?

Patrick: I would say like putting all the components together. You need a babysitter, of course. There are two other kids on the tour, so if it’s possible to find a daycare for them, we try. Right now we have one really close to our place. It’s right between work and where we live so that works super well. And then trying to be together as a family in between shows and on our time off. 

TBPM: Tell us about BAZZAR. What can we expect to see with this show?

Patrick: It’s it goes back a little bit more to the basics of Cirque, to the roots of where Circe (sun god in Greek mythology) originally came from to use human power to amaze. We don’t use technology that much. It really comes down to a group power. We try to really send energy forward into the audience, especially with our dancers helping us. So that’s kind of special, I would say, especially on a touring show. You never have the drop moment. You know it’s ongoing fire. We try to keep it up. We are a small team so everybody is trying to reach out as much as possible to the audience and have a positive energy. It’s great.

There are lots of colors like the beginning of Cirque was very colorful, not so much conceptional. We have a bit of a smaller stage than other shows so it feels like the audience are closer because the most acts are like a bit down centered to the stage. So, if like a, a duo or trio act is in the center of the stage, there would be another 16 feet maybe until the first line of seats with us. It makes us look bigger because the stage is smaller, so that’s very helpful. Especially because we are a smaller team. And yeah, the real thought was to create something of the of the roots of Circe.

Show Details:

When: February 22- March 24, 2024 (showtimes vary)

Where: Under the Big Top at Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg

Note: this show is under a separate Big Top tent. NOT in the actual stadium.

Show length: The show is 2 hours and 20 minutes long, including a 20-minute intermission.

Tickets: Adults are $36 and up. Kids ages 2-12 are $25. You can also take advantage of their Family Offer for parties for 4 or more (rates vary based on seating and show). You can purchase tickets here.

No flash photography or outside food and drinks will be allowed. There is a concession area attached to the Big Top.

 Looking for more family-friendly things to do around town? Check out 20+ Awesome Things to Do this Weekend in Tampa Bay.