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Cool facts, cooler photos from behind the scenes at Cirque du Soleil’s “Quidam”

Posted by Jackie Mantey | December 06, 2012 11:34 AM

Captions by Jackie Mantey

Photos by Meghan Ralston

Cirque du Soleil’s performance of “Quidam” is in town this weekend, and Alive stopped by to ask the tough questions: What do the performers eat? Who does their makeup? Do performers and staff fall in love with each other? 

Read more about the plot of “Quidam” and what to expect at the show here. See you there!
Nationwide Arena
Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 6-9
200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District

There are 23 nationalities represented in the entire cast and crew, 18 represented in the performers. A row of all the flags from the different countries hangs behind the stage in the warmup area.

Costumes directly backstage.


Tools of the trade directly backstage.


Anna Ostapenko, who is from Ukraine, rehearses on the rotating stage.

There are 15 semi-trucks that carry all the props, stage and costumes. Three semi-trucks specifically carry the stage. One specifically carries the costumes. The production also brings along its own washers and dryers to ensure the costumes, which are all handmade, don’t get ruined.

This is the view the performers see right before they go on stage.


The Quidam tour has about 13 romantic couples in its cast and crew of 100, said Quidam spokesperson Jessica LeBoeuf, who is dating a performer on tour. “We all have a very strong bond. We work, travel, play and live together. Plus we all share similar interests,” LeBoeuf said. “This becomes your family away from your family.”

Snacks backstage.

The show’s catering staff makes two meals a day for the performers and a buffet of fruits, veggies and grains is always available to them. This is chef Greg King of North Carolina preparing chicken cordon bleu for the cast and crew. Many Ukranian athletes were on the last tour King cooked for; he became really skilled at cooking Borscht, he said. The performers’ most requested American dish: anything from the smoker. The catering team creates weekly menus that must be approved by Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters in Montreal. They make sure the menus are nutritionally balanced to the Cirque athletic standard. The team also does much of the shopping for food locally in whatever city they are performing.

Because the cast and crew live a nomadic life, they set up life-maintenance appointments in the different cities they go to. Columbus dentists and hair salons have seen business from the Quidam performers.

A room in the Arena is dedicated specifically to the Quidam costumes. Each performer must sit for more than 300 measurements after they are hired. The Montreal headquarters keep a virtual mold of each performer in its database. If new costumes hit the show, they are made in Montreal then shipped to wherever the performance is and adjustments are made on-site.

Most makeup takes an hour to apply. The clown in Quidam must sit for two hours of makeup application. Many of the performers apply their own stage makeup. “You have big Russian acrobats trying to put on eyeliner,” laughed LeBeouf.

This spreadsheet lists what makeup each performer wears.

Costume designers on staff re-paint the performers’ shoes after every show.

The shoe painting machine.

More costumes.

Because much of the cast and crew live outside the States, there is a full-time staff member whose job is to make sure all the visas are renewed and that they can get back in time for the next show after breaks or vacations.