Behind the scenes of Cirque du Soleil's 'Corteo'

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Cirque du Soleil returns to the Central Valley this week but this time around the show is telling the story of "Corteo."

The clown dreams about his own funeral where many of his fellow performers from around the world put on a show.

"It is a tribute to the traditional cirrus and it is a celebration of life of this clown. Besides that the stage is very unique because it is right in the middle of the arena, people sit on both sides of it. It gives the audience the perspective of the actor," said Maxwell Bastia, Cirque du Soleil.

"Corteo" has a production staff of 110 people with 51 performers from around the world.

Many have been practicing solo and dual performances for decades. One of show's jugglers has 17 years of experience

"You always have to pay attention to what is happening and then just talk to each other to make sure that everyone is on the same page all the time on what is happening during the show," Johan Juslin, performer.

Rehearsals Wednesday morning showed the coordination that will take place during the show's carnival scene.

"And then we have some solo moments in the act that she does more club solo stuff and then I do Diablo. That's with an outer shape piece of plastic that spins with a string and it is controlled with a pair of sticks," said Juslin.

Behind the curtain the head of wardrobe for "Corteo" is busy preparing over a thousand costumes for each performance.

Preparing each piece of clothing took over a year but the wardrobe crew prepares for casting changes each day.

"It always is a new challenge when we have a person going into a new role to quickly make something or make alterations and make things go beautifully. So on stage you don't see the seamless effort that we put in," said Jason Brass, Head of Wardrobe.

The first performance for Cirque du Soleil, "Corteo" takes place Thursday night at the Save Mart Center.
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