Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fit for Cirque Du Soleil

There is something magical about Cirque Du Soleil, and since the arrival of their big top in Queens, New York I have wanted to see "Totem". The show takes place in the impressive blue and yellow 'Grand Chapiteau' with a modern set incorporating a giant turtle shell and interactive marsh background.

As soon as the music started I got goose bumps, which stayed throughout most of the show. I was immediately immersed into the world of Cirque Du Soleil with their unusual musical score and brilliant costumes.

All of the performers were incredible, but I especially enjoyed the five unicyclists who used their feet to juggle and throw bowls, which they then caught on their heads! The aerial acts were breath-taking and I was on the edge of my seat for the beautiful roller skating couple who spun at amazing speeds on a drum only 1.8m in diameter.

"Totem" is an awe-inspiring show which will leave you wanting more and wishing that you too could run away and join the circus.

Inspired by this amazing experience, I decided to try a class created by Cirque Du Soleil called "Jukari - Fit to Fly". Derived form an old Sicilian dialect, Jukari means 'to play' so I was intrigued and, if I'm honest, a little nervous to find out what would be involved.

This class is only offered at Equinox, where they have a studio consisting of 16 'fly sets' which are similar to trapezes. I was welcomed by Lynze Schiller, one of only two Jukari instructors in the US, who put me completely at ease. Her enthusiasm for Jukari and "Totem" helped to create that Cirque Du Soleil magic. By wearing show style eye makeup and sharing fun facts about the acts before we started, I felt as if I was in a rehearsal for the show rather than in a gym class. 

Lynze Schiller
The class is choreographed to incorporate a variety of different exercises, all set to music. It was a thoughtful playlist which included songs from the Cirque shows as well as current dance music. During each song we were shown a new skill and I was soon jumping, spinning and flying across the room. The set can be altered for different uses, and towards the end of the class we turned it into a swing. As well as traditional swinging, we were were taught how to fast spin, it was so much fun!

This was the most enjoyable class I have ever taken and I didn't stop smiling the entire time. It was a tough work out encompassing cardio, strength and flexibility and my muscles are still aching days later, but it was worth it. I can't think of a better way to spend my time in the gym than pretending to be a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat!

"Totem" is currently playing in the Big Top at Citi Field until May 12th before it moves on to Philadelphia. Tickets are available at To find out more about Jukari, visit

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