Marie-Ève Knows All About Acrobatic Precision

Photo by Camirand, Costumes by François Barbeau ©Cirque du Soleil
Photo by Daniel Desmarais
Photo by Daniel Desmarais
After 15 years performing around the world, Dralion will make its finale curtain call in January 2015.
From October 29 to November 2, 2014, Sault Ste. Marie will have its final opportunity to experience this unique and colorful Cirque du Soleil signature production that has performed in more than 150 cities.
7 performances are scheduled at the Essar Centre .Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion (pronounced “Dra-lee-on”) draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature.

The show’s name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West. had a chance to speak with one of the many performers in the show, Marie-Ève Bisson.
Marie-Ève began dancing at the ripe age of 5. At age 12, she decided to pursue artistic gymnastics where she discovered with the help of her trainers, that she had what it took to compete on a professional level. After 5 years of artistic gymnastic training, Marie-Ève competed on a national level. In 1998, she sent an audition tape to the Cirque du Soleil casting department and immediately caught their attention. She was invited to participate in a 3 day evaluation where she began her training on the Aerial Hoop. She started performing with the Aerial Hoop trio in Quidam and in 2002 was offered the possibility to create her own solo act for Dralion. From 2003 to 2006, Marie-Ève joined the big top touring production of Dralion and in 2008 she worked as a freelancer for special events. In 2010, Marie-Ève rejoined the arena touring production of Dralion.


1. You’ve been in artistic gymnastics since the age of 12, what drew you to that sport?
I was a little girl with a lot of energy and my parents were looking at activities so I could spend all my extra energy. At the age of 4, I started dance class. During our classes, the teachers were giving us gymnastics exercises. My teachers thought I had the potential to do competitive gymnastics and this is how I started. From then, I was doing lots of training so I could participate in various gymnastics competitions.

2. When you auditioned for the Cirque du Soleil how nerve wrecking was that for you? Was being part of Cirque du Soleil a life long goal for you?
I saw my first Cirque du Soleil performance at the age of 8. I was blown away by all the talents I have seen on stage. In the back of my mind, it was a dream to be part of Cirque du Soleil but I never thought I had the capacity or even the talent to be part of such a big circus. At the age of 18, a friend of mine had talked and shared my contacts to the casting team of Cirque du Soleil. I was invited for a 3-day evaluation in aerial hoop. I had never seen this apparatus neither had any training prior to this. Members of the Artistic, Casting and Coaching were part of this event. It was nerve-wracking but with my experience and background I tried anything I thought could do anything to make an impression. After the three days, the Artistic director shook my hand and said: Welcome in the team. I knew I had made it and started my trainings the following week.

3. Tell me about your part in Dralion
My character – Hibana is in the family of Fire. My act is a demonstration of strength and agility. I am suspended from a hoop high above the stage, the artist presents an evocative choreography in which the hoop and body become one in a dance of acrobatic precision.

4. How much rehearsal time goes into a show like this? Tell me about a “typical” day for you.
It’s a lifelong process. We have 2 days off a week. On our first day in a city, I will have some time on stage to go through my routine and warm up. After my trainings, I like to return to the hotel to rest and get ready for the show. I return to the venue 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the show to start my preparation. During this time, I apply my make-up which takes approx. 45-min and start my warm-up. Once the Premiere is behind me, I may have additional rehearsals during the week. These trainings involve video sessions with the Artistic director, fine-tuning of my act and working on new skills for example.

5. You’ve been part of the touring show Dralion for several years; you took a break and are now back with the show. Did you miss not performing? You have a solo in the show?
I missed performing on a regular basis. Even though I have been performing in various events such as Galas, Corporate and Punctual shows). I would like to add that nothing gave me as much energy has performing every night.

Photo by Camirand, Costumes by François Barbeau ©Cirque du Soleil
6. To you what is the best part of being a star in Dralion?
I am an admirer of my fellow artists, our technical team, our Artistic team and members of our Management. In our own way, we are all stars in Cirque du Soleil. I think that only being part of Dralion & Cirque du Soleil is a huge accomplishment in itself. My favorite is to have a chance to be part of a team of experts in various disciplines having trust in me and vice versa.

7. What’s next in line for you after Dralion wraps up?
My objective is to pursue my career as Cirque du Soleil performer as long as I can share my passion, get and give energy and enjoy what I am doing. I am very confident that my body will allow me to keep going by taking care of myself and eating well.

Two years ago, I started taking life coaching classes. In addition to my circus performing career, I am following a life coach path. My life experience with Cirque du Soleil, my travelling and being taking part of various cultures helps me to follow this career line. I want to help others achieving their life goals and help them transform their lives.

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