By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thursday night is the official opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s “TOTEM.”

Jessica Kartalija has a look at what goes into preparing for the performance.

Before the performers take the stage, they must condition and get into top shape. When the show begins, the movements come naturally.

Perfecting the gymnastic choreography in Cirque du Soleil’s “TOTEM” is up to one man–head coach Darren Webster.

“I’m responsible for anything that goes upside down. Anything acrobatic in the show is my responsibility,” said Webster.

Webster trained as an elite gymnast and coach before being recruited to coach performers with “TOTEM.”

“I make sure it’s safe and that they can repeat that same elite level of gymnastics or acrobatics they do every day, twice a day,” said Webster.

With rigorous workouts, Webster’s job is to perfect performers’ technique.

In preparing for the rings trio, performers condition then must run through their performance on stage, while Webster looks on.

He says the rigorous training is what allows the performers to push the limit.

“These guys know exactly what they are doing all the time, and they trained for years. After 20 years, they’ve got good muscle memory going and it’s automatic for them,” said Webster.

Webster loves his job.

“I’ve got one of 10 positions in the world, so yeah, you’ve got to love it,” he said.

Webster constantly watches tapes of performances, and looks for ways to improve the show.

“TOTEM” runs through May 1. Tickets are still available.


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