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Wings of desire 

Cirque du Soleil's Varekai hits the Springs, with a fresh lead

Even though Fernando Miro has danced all his life, it wasn't just grace that got him on the Cirque du Soleil roster. "[The] industry has changed so much," he says, "that most companies want people trained in all disciplines, [anywhere from] dancing, to aerial, to circus performance."

It's because Miro can do all three that he's now traveling in the world tour of Varekai, in the coveted lead role. He would debut in the show's first stop, Minneapolis, on Dec. 25, and then appear again in the Springs less than a week later.

Miro received his first professional dance gig at the age of 16 in his homeland of Puerto Rico. Yet, as passions go, balancing his craft with his home life wasn't easy. "I was still in high school when I got my first pro gig," the 27-year-old says by phone from Minnesota. "Then I went to college, but the workload became heavy and I started missing classes and getting poor grades, so I decided to do this pro. It was tough, but it was a mature decision, and my parents and family were very supportive."

So at the age of 20 he left for Las Vegas and auditioned for the Cirque show, CRISS ANGEL Believe. "I heard they were doing auditions for Cirque," he says, "so I [decided to do] this now while my body was still capable." Since that time Miro hasn't let his foot off the gas, performing in traveling circuses; dancing at corporate events; and participating in some of the highest-caliber shows in the world, including that Believe production, Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour, and Cirque's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.

"[It's been] a complete honor ... to represent two of the biggest entertainers in the world," he says, referring to Jackson and Cirque.

The latter's trajectory remains stratospheric. Since its introduction in the early 1980s, Cirque has put on shows that have achieved the highest regard in stage performance; for the uninitiated, it combines dance, aerial acrobatics, kaleidoscopic lighting effects, massive stage settings and enough flipping and tumbling to make a Slinky blush. To date, Cirque has spawned over 30 different productions worldwide, more than 15 film adaptations, and a few Cirque-themed lounges in Las Vegas. Leaders even have plans for a theme park in Mexico.

In Varekai (which means "Wherever" in Romani), the audience finds itself in an enchanted forest following the story of the Greek mythological figure Icarus, who's fallen from flying too close to the sun. Icarus, played by Miro, breaks his leg and is forced to find a reason to walk again.

"This show is very touching," says Miro. "The story of Icarus is a good lesson. After he breaks his leg, he is trying to find his love and inspiration, and as the show goes on it's unconditional love that's making him ... walk again."

When asked about starring for the first time as Icarus on Christmas Day, Miro replies, "I'm not nervous really, just anxious. The preparation and the rehearsing has been uplifting. I'm ready to get on stage and perform."

  • Cirque du Soleil's Varekai hits the Springs, with a fresh lead

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