BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cirque du Soleil has turned circus performances into an art form. The internationally popular show is back in Baltimore for this weekend only.

Gigi Barnett explains the crew started setting up before daybreak.

An army of performers from 15 different countries bring the magic of Michael Jackson to the 1st Mariner Arena in the latest Cirque du Soleil tour. But before the audience packs in for two shows only this weekend, the stage must be set.

More than 200 crew members rolled in on Saturday at 4 a.m.

“They have it down to a science. They’re just putting together a piece of a puzzle,” said Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman Laura Silverman.

It takes about 12 hours to set the stage for this weekend’s show. Cirque says an easy setup and a fast breakdown is what allows the show to visit 65 cities before the North American tour is over.

“If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil show before, don’t expect to see the same thing,” Silverman said.

Silverman says the crew did away with the big tent and this arena-style show may cause some audience members to think they’re at a concert.

“This one is definitely different than some of the other arena tours. It’s very rock concert meets Cirque du Soleil,” Silverman said.

The show “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour” blends the pop icon’s sounds to the moves of Cirque acrobats, dancers and contortionists. Some of Jackson’s former band members are in the show, a performance for the eyes and ears.

“It’s really a tribute to his life,” Silverman said. “Because this is very different than some of the other shows, it’s exciting. You want to get up and dance.”

After this weekend’s shows, Cirque goes to Hampton, Va. next.

Cirque du Soleil is the largest touring production in the world. The first of two shows starts Saturday night.


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