The day Usher came to the circus

by Trevor Aung Than on December 6, 2012

Back in July, 2010 I exited the elevator for what I thought was going to be a normal day at work. Well, as normal as a day could get when you work in the circus! As I passed the communal Green Room, I noticed a man sitting on the sofa who looked familiar. I double-took and looked at him a bit more closely. He looked really familiar…where did I know him from? Then I realised that it was the music superstar Usher!

Turns out that Usher is a big-time Cirque fan and his people had contacted Cirque people and requested if Usher could visit backstage and potentially join in on a training session. Usher was really keen to do some training and as was on a limited time schedule in Macau (he was due to perform that night) wanted to spend his time hanging out with Cirque. Of course, we were only too happy to accommodate, and Usher joined an impromptu conditioning class.

We took Usher through a functional conditioning class with some of the teeterboard crew (Didier Raffaeli, Yury Kozyakov) and one of our dancers (JJ) led by physio extraodinaire, Erin Fitzgerald. Usher even gave us a few exercises to try out. He mentioned that he enjoyed training and in particular likes functional conditioning and bodyweight exercise – as I’m sure my female readers will attest to – it obviously works for him!

I can’t say that I’ve met many superstars in my time but I found Usher to be extremely humble and friendly. He was fascinated by the teeterboard and asked the guys many questions relating to their training and about their ‘calls’ on the board (which is the way they communicate to their partner if they land poorly on the board and as a result do not push the person on the board). That day turned out to be a pretty crazy day all round for a number of reasons but certainly started out nicely and it was refreshing that a superstar would be interested in the mechanics of what we do.

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