01
Oct
13

Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil – a chat with my sister the sm

 

She ran away to join the circus…again!

 

Analiese Long. Image by Ricky Morant.

 

My family is pretty cool, and Analiese is just one of my younger siblings who is living the dream. This is Ana’s fourth Cirque du Soleil show. Previously, she has worked as Stage Manager on Dralion, Saltimbanco and Ovo.

 

Next up for this multi-talented, multi-tasking mum of three from Eumundi, is Cirque’s newest show – it’s about to take Australia by storm – Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, opening in Brisbane tomorrow night! See you there!

 

I caught up with Ana to ask the questions there isn’t usually a chance to ask her over tea and cake…

 

What led you to Cirque? Touring doing stuff I love.

 

What is your job? Stage Manager. I’m the go-to girl. I ensure the safety of the artists in training and during the show, and I keep the show running smoothly. I’m timekeeper, artist-tech liaison; the show is my hands once the curtain goes up. I work with coaches, dance masters and artistic directors. I take care of artist rotations and scheduling, documentation and archival. As Stage Manager, I work with the crew to load in the day before the artists arrive on site.

 

The best part of the job is being proud of the result, which is a sensational show.

 

How did you get the job? Industry experience and contacts and repeat jobs come from reputation.

 

What does down time look like? Skyping family and reading or exploring whichever part of the world I’m in.

 

When you tour how do you stay healthy? What do you eat? There are caterers who provide healthy international cuisine. Most of us have small portions throughout the day, but some artists choose to wait until after a show to eat.

 

We know it takes a village… You took three kids on the Saltimbanco tour. What do you have to say about touring with kids? Don’t do it! (She laughs) The artists and technicians became our extended family. I enrolled them in the Brisbane School of Distance Education and a nanny travelled with us. We sent them on cultural trips and they each kept a journal. Most interesting was the changing currencies and the languages. They had to get along together in close quarters and at times it was challenging but it was actually a really good decision.

 

The best thing about taking the kids on the Saltimbanco tour is that they are now world travellers, having been through 28 countries and living with people of many and varied cultural backgrounds.

 

You went to Hong Kong for a week. Was that so you could learn the show? I flew to Hong Kong for a week to learn the show, no time for sightseeing. You have to make time to be a tourist and you feel like you need to sleep in but it’s often worth the effort to get up and see where you are before the day begins.

 

Why Stage Manager? There’s no glory in being a stage manager but I’ve reached a respectable level in the industry and I enjoy putting the pieces of the show together. You need to think quickly to replace an injured artist (artist rotations share the workload and prepare against injuries. The artists learn multiple roles, like a swing would in a musical). Guest teachers come in to work with the artists.

 

It’s not boring. The most exciting part of the job is calling the show. It’s an adrenalin thing and seeing it all come together is awesome. There’s personal satisfaction and you’re able to make great connections with the artists when you see them succeed and congratulate them as they come offstage.

 

Analiese Long. Image by Ricky Morant.

 

What makes this show different to all the other Cirque shows? It’s a Michael Jackson concert without Michael, except he’s there, larger than life, on the big screen. Jonathan Sugarfoot Moffat was the original drummer for The Jackson Five and he has joined this tour.

 

It’s the only touring show in partnership with the Estate of Michael Jackson. The dancers, some of who danced with MJ, are incredible, channelling MJ’s energy. Whether or not you’re an MJ fan it’s a spectacular production that people can’t help enjoy.

 

 

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