Fresno's ready for Cirque Du Soleil

FRESNO, California The cast enjoyed a visit to Yosemite on their off day but now it is show-time. Cirque du Soleil promised to transport the audience to an alternate universe.

Spectacular acrobatics are just part of Cirque du Soleil's appeal. The Save Mart Center's been transformed into a theater. People can enjoy the high-flying action in a more intimate setting.

Cirque du Soleil Publicist Genevieve Laurendeau said, "The artists have amazing backgrounds. Some are former Olympians, world cup champions. We have honestly a crazy good cast of performers and that's what they're all about. It's about performing on stage giving their best."

But first costumes must be fixed and prepared. The group just performed in Salt Lake City. It's impossible for the artists to mask their enthusiasm for this show.

Assistant Artistic Director Sheryl-Lynne Valensky explained, "What you see behind me are what we call the old nostalgic birds and they represent some of the characters you're going to see throughout the show in Alegria."

"Alegria" translates into joy, which An Dewin feels every time she takes the stage. Three years ago DeWin was a gymnast in Belgium. She said, "It's just magic. When I saw the show it was like being in a different world and when it finished I was like wow."

"Alegria" tells a story about the abuse of power but many will simply be drawn to the impressive show of power.

During rehearsals, the flying man showed why he is such a crowd favorite. Cirque du Soleil's cast features 55 performers from 18 different countries.

Valensky said, "We don't use a lot of real language so it doesn't matter what language you speak, what continent we're on, what country you're in you can relate to the show."

Cirque du Soleil's "Alegria" opened Thursday night at 7:30. Seven performances are scheduled through Sunday at the Save Mart Center.

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