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Cirque du Soleil rehearsal

Posted By: David Accomazzo

Cirque du Soleil hadn't been in Broomfield long before they had taken over the 1stBank Center. They sectioned off around half of the 7,000-person arena, leaving space to sell around 3,500 seats. They built an enormous stage that slants down onto the arena floor, and according to the show's publicist, they've hung 100,000 pounds of lights and other equipment from the 1stBank Center rafters.

Cirque du Soleil's Alegría spends a week on location in each city they visit. Wednesday is the opening night, and during the day, the artists run through their sets, some in street clothes, others in costume.

On Wednesday afternoon, as snow pounded the Front Range, two crew members roll a giant piece of scaffolding from which the trapeze artists perform. They attach metal hooks to the scaffolding and raise it about 40 feet above the ground. One of the trapeze artists, 27-year-old Australian Zebastian Hunter, stretches his arms above his head and chats with a few friends as the crew sets up for his act. Hunter has only been practicing trapeze for about a year, but he previously specialized in a related art called "cloud swing." He started "swinging" at 14 years old, and as he climbed a rope up to the trapeze bar, he displayed a casual comfort only attainable after countless hours of practice. His partner, 26-year-old Ella Fenwick, soon joined him and the two continued getting loose on trapeze. Of course, "getting loose" on a trapeze consists of sitting on a bar elevated 40 feet in the air and flipping and spinning in the air with only a belt tied around your waist for support, but nevertheless the artists were ultimately at ease.

Cirque du Soleil plays at the 1stBank Center until Sunday, Jan. 23.

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