The young acrobat/performing artist can also twirl multiple hula hoops at the same time, is talented in the art of aerial hoop and, when needed, can twist and turn her body into seemingly unnatural positions. These are skills D'Amours Fortunato learned at the National Circus School in Montreal, where she spent four years majoring in hula hoop and minoring in contortion and aerial hoop.
D'Amours Fortunato was in Vancouver this week, alongside her romantic partner, fellow Cirque cast member and “red clown” Alexandr Yudintsev, rehearsing for Corteo, which has been restaged and reproduced after having been placed on hiatus after a final performance in Ecuador in 2015.
In Sept. 18, the pair gave invited media and bloggers a sneak peek of the new show at the Roundhouse Community Centre, during which artistic director Mark Shaub told the group Corteo was just too good of a production to be permanently shelved. Instead, Shaub went to work with a creative team to explore technological advances and bring fresh life to the already popular Corteo, a play on the Italian word "cortege," which translates to “solemn procession.”
Putting a twist on that theme, the show itself is a joyous procession imagined by a clown nearing death. Corteo brings together the passion of “Mauro, the dreamer clown” with the grace and power of Cirque’s acrobats to plunge the audience into a theatrical world of fun, comedy and spontaneity, all which takes place in a mysterious space between heaven and earth.
Over the course of the show, Mauro imagines his funeral taking place in a carnival-like atmosphere while being watched over by caring angels — “juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us.” The original production of Corteo was attended by more than 8 million people in 19 different countries.
Shaub says also new is the streamlined setup of the show. Originally shown in big top tents, which could take up to seven days to set up, this arena version of Corteo — including 22 tractor trailers full of gear and equipment — can be ready for curtain in just 12 hours.
Corteo runs at the Pacific Coliseum from Oct. 10 to 14. For ticket information, visit pne.ca.