Q&A: Flying high with Cirque du Soleil’s ‘‘Twas the Night Before’

Suren & Karyna in 'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE by Cirque du Soleil. (Bradon Todd, MSG Entertainment)

DETROIT – Meet Suren and Karyna, the real-life married couple soaring above audiences around the country in ‘Twas the Night Before by Cirque du Soleil.

The daring couple performs in the “Duo Straps” portion of the winter spectacle now playing nightly at the Fox Theatre.

Here’s what they had to say about their high-flying performances before they soar over Motown:

Can you tell me about a bit about your act, the duo straps?

Suren: We’re snowflakes, the prettiest ones. We have a fun act because when you speak about snowflakes, it’s so often falling from the sky. But we add a little bit of dynamic energy to our act. Snowflakes are soft, but at the same time very powerful.

Karyna: We start with a snowstorm and we make it look like the actual storm happens on stage. We move super fast and we pull each other, it’s really beautiful. We have snow falling at the same time but because we move fast and spin, the snow gets into like a tornado. Then after the snow slows down, we become more like a softer snow angel.

Suren: It’s a little bit romantic. But we’re don’t play a couple on stage. We’re snow flakes.

You’ve been performing for over a decade together, but do you still get scared?

Karyna: You know, being scared for real keeps us alive. It’s quite interesting to do what we do and have no fear.

Suren: All artists get scared and get nervous a little bit, it’s a good thing. With age, you just learn how to control it more and more. If you come on stage too afraid of nothing, it can be dangerous, you lose control.

Suren and Karyna in 'Twas the Night Before by Cirque du Soleil. (MSG Entertainment)

Is there anything the audience doesn’t notice or see while you’re performing these stunts?

Suren: They don’t see pain, definitely. In circus school, we are taught that if your art does not look easy, you cannot bring it on stage. This is our main goal to make it look easy. We’ve found after performances that people will say, “I can do it too!”

Karyna: Our goal is to make it look as effortless as possible so that people feel like they can jump on stage and do it.

There must be a lot of communication between you two for your safety as you’re performing. How are you communicating in the middle of an act?

Suren: It’s a secret language. It’s a mix of a look or the lips moving. It’s in the way I pick her up.

Karyna: What we do we’ve done thousands of times. So if something goes wrong, then we can tell by looking at each other. Sometimes if something goes wrong, he would press my hand twice and that means to pay attention. We become more aware of what’s happening.

Which act is your favorite to watch?

Karyna: The quick answer is the Diabolo.

Suren: My favorite is the reindeer riding around and doing a lot of crazy twists. But each act is very nice and fun. Each act is also very different. Each act brings different emotions during the show. So when you’re watching, you’re just following the story.

Is it difficult working through the holidays?

Suren: Sometimes you see people outside having a party, but the audience brings a lot of energy, so it feels like we become part of the party. We’re going to have our time after the show.

Karyna: Yeah, while everybody goes back to work, we’re going to have our holidays.

What’s the best part about performing in ‘Twas the Night Before?

Karyna: The show is really magical. They always say that when you are an adult you stop believing in the Christmas spirit and magic because we’re so busy, we change. I feel like this show really brings the magic back.

Suren: And it feels like you can start a new tradition with Cirque du Soleil.

‘Twas the Night Before by Cirque du Soleil is now playing at the Fox Theatre in Downtown Detroit through December 26th. For showtimes and tickets, visit 313Presents.com.


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