By Joanne McDonald
Jessie DiPasquale was just 10 years old the first time she saw a performer working the trapeze at Zacada Circus School.
She was on a school field trip with her Grimsby classmates and the performance she watched that day was the start of a journey that would take her to her own high places.
“I could picture myself trying, high in the air and pushing my capabilities.”
Five years later and a lot of hard work, the young athlete will be one of the many star performers at Zacada’s production ‘Unplugged’ running May 30 through June 1.
It’s hard to match the excitement of a Zacada production. Owners and world-ranked athletes Christine Cadeau and Kosta Zakharenko travelled the world with the Cirque du Soleil show ‘Quidam’ and 12 years ago launched the circus school. Their productions are renowned for the artistry and choreography – signatures of the Cirque magic.
The story line will follow a young man who goes into another world – and his cell phone can’t come with him. “It opens a whole new world to seeing the world through a different lens,” Cadeau said. “We all have to find a balance in our busy lives, to take time to shut off from the world of technology. There is a peace that comes with it and true connection with the people around us,” Cadeau said. “We are really excited about this show.”
‘Unplugged’ will be packed with exciting performances of grace and strength on aerial apparatus from trapeze to silks, and an important message to take a break from the world of technology and live in the present moment.
“Everybody is so talented and there are so many acts in the show. You will see so many mediums and the message is really important for younger people. We’re so wrapped up in technology and it’s important to unplug, to enjoy life and be in the moment,” DiPasquale said.
“I almost gave up after the first year. It was so hard,” said DiPasquale, now 15. “I didn’t have the strength and the muscles, it’s very different. But I had so much fun doing the shows that I forgot how much hard work I was doing.”
Now, performing intricate moves high in the air, “I let my muscle memory take over and focus on performing in front of an audience.”
“The coaches who have worked with me over the years are all amazing, not just teaching me about circus, but about life. They’ve become a family to me,” DiPasquale said.
Cadeau says students work hard to build their skills. “When I see the light in their eyes when they’re performing, that is when it is really rewarding for me.” The veteran Cirque performer will also be performing in this season’s production.
“We have been lucky enough to have Debra Brown as an artistic director and choreographer for Unplugged. Debra is a world famous choreographer whose work has been seen in countless Cirque du Soleil performances. She has won an Emmy and worked with several celebrities such as Shakira, Madonna, Aerosmith to name a few,” Cadeau said. “We have also had the help from Rene Bazinet as an artistic advisor. Rene is a world renowned clown and was Kosta’s artistic coach when he was working on the creation of Quidam. To see him and work with him 20 years later is really amazing.”
Unplugged show times are Thursday, May 30, 6:30 p.m.; Friday May 31, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 1, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sunday, June 2, 1 p.m. and 5p.m.
Tickets are adults, $28; Seniors, $23; and kids 11 and under, $18.