Kristin Allen

INTERVIEW

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT PRIOR TO JOINING CIRQUE DU SOLEIL?

Right before my partner, Michael Rodrigues, and I joined Cirque du Soleil , we won the 2010 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Poland. Becoming World Champions was our biggest achievement and our ultimate goal. Also, in 2009, we made history by becoming the first American acrobatic gymnasts to win a gold medal at the World Games.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ATHLETIC BACKGROUND BEFORE JOINING CIRQUE.

I started acrobatic gymnastics when I was 9 years old, and I competed in the sport for 10 years.

  • Kristin Allen
  • United States
  • Acrobatic gymnastics
WHEN DID YOU JOIN CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CONTACT WITH THE ORGANIZATION? WHAT WAS THE CONTEXT?

I joined Cirque in 2010. We were approached by a Talent Scout. He contacted us two weeks after we sent in our letter of retirement to FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) to offer us a position in the show Viva ELVIS. It was the perfect transition. We were in Las Vegas just a month after we finished competing.

WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE WAS TRAINING TO PERFORM FOR VIVA ELVIS?

We worked with an acrobatic coach and a dance choreographer to create our act in Viva ELVIS. They helped us develop our characters in the show. We were already playing characters in our regular competition routines, so it's been rewarding to be able to push our acting even further. I've loved having the opportunity to embody the essence of Priscilla Presley every night.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE INTEGRATING INTO THE SHOW?

I think that we started to do the skills that are very traditional to Acrobatic gymnastics but in a new context. It's very cool since it's really similar to a competition routine in a way but with more acting and more dance and performance. It allowed us to grow in that aspect.

HOW HAS BEING PART OF A CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SHOW ALLOWED YOU TO EXPRESS YOURSELF IN YOUR DISCIPLINE?

Our act is similar to a competition routine in a way, but with more acting, more dance, and more performance. We were able to do traditional acrobatic gymnastics skills in a new context. For many years we trained to be consistent for competition, and I believe this has helped us to be consistent every night in the show. We take pride in giving our best performance to each and every audience.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF CIRQUE DU SOLEIL?

There are so many things I love about working for this company, but if I had to pick one thing, I would say that I love the performance aspect. Every audience brings a new energy. Even though I am doing the same acts every night, they feel fresh and exciting every time.

HOW DID THE TRANSITION GO BETWEEN YOUR FORMER CAREER TO YOUR CURRENT CIRQUE CAREER?

Cirque du Soleil has been the best transition from competition to a professional career. I believe it's the biggest thing you can do after a competitive career in acrobatic gymnastics. Working on a Cirque stage gives you credibility and takes you to the next level as an athlete and performer.

HOW IS LIFE IN LAS VEGAS?

As in any move to a new city, there is an adjustment period. However, there is something very special about immersing yourself in a new place. Las Vegas has a unique and wonderful performance community that I am so grateful to be a part of.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE OR SUGGESTION TO YOUNG PEOPLE FROM ACROBATIC GYMNASTICS?

Keep being passionate about the sport and develop the performance aspect of your routines. Also, consider taking some acting and dance classes on the side, because it will help your performance within the sport as well as in a future career.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES HAS CIRQUE GIVEN YOU?

A lot of amazing experiences! We were able to travel and do many guests appearances at various special events, including live TV performances. One of my favorite opportunities was going to Graceland to perform at Elvis Week.

WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT AN ARTIST JOIN CIRQUE?

I think Cirque du Soleil takes incredible care of their artists. All you have to do is focus on performing, and everything else is taken care of. The creativity that you are around is unlike anywhere else. It is so inspiring. Acrobatically and artistically, I believe it's the best environment you can be in.