Julia Lopatkina

INTERVIEW

What was your biggest athletic achievement prior to joining Cirque du Soleil?

I won the World Championships in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, European Championships in 2001 and 2003, World Games in 1997 and 2001, and the National Championships in 1997 and again from 1999 to 2004.

Please tell us about your athletic background previous to joining Cirque:

I have been in Acrobatic gymnastics since I was 7 years old and my main discipline was Women’s Pair.

  • Julia Lopatkina
  • Russian Federation
  • Acrobatic gymnastics

Over seven years, my Pair’s partner Anna Mokhova (who works on Quidam now) and me won repeated World and European Championships as members of the Russian National Team. We were very lucky to work and interact with the best coaches and athletes throughout our athletic careers. In addition, I graduated from University with a Bachelor’s degree as a coach of Sports Acrobatics. I can definitely say that acrobatics is my life!

When did you join Cirque du Soleil?

I joined Cirque du Soleil during the general formation period in Montreal in 2005. Soon after, in 2006, I was invited to join “O" in Las Vegas.

What was your first contact with the organization? What was the context?

The first time I heard and learned about the organization was in 1999. At the time I was actively training and didn’t think that at some point I would become a Cirque du Soleil artist. However, six months after I finished competing as a professional athlete in 2005, I found myself accepting an invitation to the general formation in Montreal.

What kind of an experience was your audition and/or training and/or workshop?

To be a performer and not just an athlete was the most difficult skill I had to acquire. Learning to combine tricks and emotions, to express more than just acrobatics and opening myself to something so new was most challenging for me. Also, developing my acting, dancing and vocal skills, as well as learning make-up, were very new and interesting to me.

How did your integration go in Montreal and in the show?

In the beginning, I was just watching and learning everything around me. The next step was to slowly learn new tricks, choreography and cues. It was only after that, that I finally took part in the show. I think that the formation in Montreal was a very helpful experience for me.

How does being part of a Cirque du Soleil show allow you to express yourself in your discipline?

When you are working in any Cirque show, you are taking on a huge responsibility to be the best in what you do. I am always reaching for new knowledge and trying to learn things from the performers around me.

What do you like the most about being part of Cirque du Soleil?

For me, it is being part of a big circus “family" and having the opportunity to work with professionals in my field, to communicate with interesting people from different countries and doing something I love to do.

How did the transition go between your former career to your current Cirque career?

When your sport career comes to an end, you think you will never feel such strong emotions as the feeling you get standing with a medal. But it is not true! Cirque gave me a possibility to continue my career, only in another role. The transition was not that hard, as I continued to be engaged in my favorite activity.

Why would you recommend an artist to join Cirque?

It is a wonderful opportunity to try new things, to discover new emotions, skills and impressions, and to begin a new and interesting life!

How is life in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas is a big and beautiful city. It is not the same as other cities in which I have been. There are a lot of people from all corners of the world and it charges the city with a special power. I like to live and work here!