Marhaba meets and interviews two great performers of Cirque Du Soleil’s second show in Qatar, Dralion.

Tara Catherine Pandeya, Oceane – Goddess of Water, and juggler Vladik Miagkostupov, arrived in Qatar this week for a few public performances in Qatar’s most popular locations to give you a sneak peak of Dralion, which will take place from 19 to 21 September 2013 at Aspire Dome.

Tara Catherine Pandeya, Oceane – Goddess of Water

tara-catherineThe 32-year-old American second-generation dancer, Pandeya is the daughter of a professional dancer and arts educator. She was exposed to traditional dance and music since infancy. From childhood, Pandeya trained in multiple styles including Classical South and North Indian, traditional Middle Eastern, Central Asian and ethno-contemporary dance. She has completed dance residencies in Tajikistan and Uyghur Autonomous Xinjiang, China also known as Chinese Turkestan. She has traveled and studied in India, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe. She holds an Arabic language certificate from Alif University in Fez, Morocco as well as through the University of California, Berkeley. Pandeya is also a CTSEOL (English as a Second Language) Certified Instructor from the Transworld School of San Francisco. Additionally, Pandeya is a teacher and choreographer of Eastern and Western heritage.

Pandeya joined Cirque du Soleil in August 2010 when a grant administrator submitted a video of her work. From there, Pandeya was contacted by Cirque du Soleil and was asked to submit an audition video. Pandeya said:

It’s a really eclectic mix. I think they’re always looking for something new and innovative. They can take a raw skill or a special talent that someone has and incorporate into something in a future show. It’s much more accessible that people would think – the audition process. There is a website. You can create a profile and upload a video of your skill or act.’

oceane-taraShe now makes her debut as the Oceane – Goddess of Water in Dralion. Pandeya said:

I play Oceane, one of the four elements the show is based upon, Earth, water, air and fire. She’s [Oceane] the element that represents water, the Goddess of Water, and it’s a combination of – my background is central Asian dance – but it’s kind of a combination of more eastern kind of Indian stylings with modern danced mixed in. And I’m dancing alongside the acrobats and contortionist in support of the rest the show.’

Although Pandeya is no stranger to the Middle East, this is her first time to Qatar. Pandeya said:

I just got in yesterday morning and from what I’ve seen, which is just a little bit, we went to Katara and we had a really nice seafood dinner and looked around the amphitheater, which was really beautiful to see even in the evening with the lighting and all the marble. And the sky and cityscape is just beautiful so I’m looking forward to see more…I’m looking forward to September to have a fuller experience of Doha.’

Juggler Vladik Miagkostupov

vladik-miagkostupovThe 29-year-old Ukrainian juggler Miagkostupov’s love of performing was cultivated at a very young age as he was born into a creative family. Both of his parents were part of the Moscow Circus. At the age of 4, his parent started his training in dancing and acrobatics. His father, who is a juggler, taught Miagkostupov juggling. His professional career started at the age of 9. Since then, he performed in more than 30 countries as well for renowned companies such as Lido de Paris in Paris, Le Cabaret in Monte Carlo and with Dralion by Cirque du Soleil. He won several awards including the gold medal in Paris at the Cirque de Demain competition.

Cirque du Soleil saw Miagkostupov at the Cirque de Demain’s competition and then invited him to send a video. He said:

Send in videos! You can do it online. Sometimes, they have auditions as well…Just audition! They look for anything because they use so many different styles. The show is not necessarily just of acrobatics and dance, they can use Kung Fu or diving too. So its wherever you wanna try and submit.’

Miagkostupov joined Cirque du Soleil in 2003 as a performer in Solstrom by Cirque du Soleil. He joined Dralion on tour in 2006. His act is not just an ordinary juggling act but includes a modern mix of juggling, dance and acrobatics. Miagkostupov now returns in Dralion for the North America Arena tour. He said:

I do the juggling act and it’s a combination of juggling, acrobatic and dance so it’s not your typical ordinary juggling act or standard juggle. It’s actually a character that’s kind of born from the Earth so Gaya, the goddess of Earth, she brings me out on the stage. And I’ll do this six-minute act.’

vladik_jugglingThis is not Miagkostupov’s first time in Qatar. He first visited Qatar over six years ago, saying:

I was here in 2006. I did a TV show but I never did any full time shows so Dralion is the first full time show…When I was here in 2006, I don’t really remember too much of how it was but it does look like its grown a lot. But it was nice. Last time, we went to the souk. We went to the dunes by the car or SUV, we went duneing.’

What you should be expecting to see this weekend is: ‘I will be playing the character, Oceane and I’ll be in full costume and makeup. And Vladik will be doing his act,’ said Pandeya. ‘Like a part of a three-munite version of it,’ added Miagkostupov.

If you think you have what it takes, the publicist of Dralion, Julie Desmarais, says:

We’re hosting public auditions in Ukraine, Montreal and Halifax. People can also submit what they do online. We have a team of scouts in Montreal that look at everything. YouTube is also a nice network to find talents. They look at a lot of sports competitions, circus festivals, and they’re always on the look out for the best talent in any type of field – comedians, clowns, acrobats, athletes, dancers, singers, musicians – so it’s a wide range of talents we’re looking for.

Tickets are available online on Cirque Du Soleil’s website. Exclusive tickets are available to Cirque Club members. Cirque Club membership is free and benefits includes access to advance tickets, special offers and exclusive behind the scenes information. To join, go to Cirque Club’s website.

To know where they’ll be performing this weekend, check out Marhaba’s blog post Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion Performers are in Town for the Weekend and for more information on Dralion, check out Marhaba’s blog post Cirque du Soleil Presents Dralion in Doha, Qatar.