'LOVE' Makes Dreams Come True
By Gillian Abbott, 16th September 2008
My adventure into ‘LOVE’ began in February just before Valentines Day. At the time I was a seventeen year old, high school senior in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I flew out to Vancouver for a Cirque du Soleil audition that I had heard about. I knew you had to be eighteen to be hired for the job but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to give it a shot or to at least let the Casting Director, Krista Monson have a look at me for the future. During the audition Krista pulled me aside and asked me if I would be able to move to Las Vegas within a couple months-she was concerned that because of my age I would not be able to leave home so quickly. I said, “I would move in a heartbeat”! Little did I know that would soon be reality.
Ironically on Valentines Day I received a call from Krista telling my mom and I that Cirque was very interested in hiring me for the ‘LOVE’ show in Las Vegas. The next day my mom and I were booked to fly out to Houston, Texas for me to start the first of three college auditions. We went anyway just to keep my options open incase things with Cirque did not work out. However after my second college audition in Pittsburgh for Point Park University, all of our anticipation was over...Cirque wanted me!
Now, when I say my adventure only began this year, that’s not quite true. The first Cirque show I ever saw was Mystère in Las Vegas when I was only six years old. I have seen many, many Cirque shows since including ‘LOVE’ when it first opened in the summer of 2006. After seeing the show for the first time, I turned to my dad and said in awe, “That’s what I want to do with my life!” Only in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would be celebrating the two year anniversary of the show as a newly hired dancer!
My integration process started in Montreal, Quebec at the International Head Quarters of Cirque du Soleil. After two weeks of rehearsals, fittings, make-up lessons and more, the eleven new dancers of the ‘LOVE’ show including myself departed for Vegas!!! In Vegas our rehearsals continued for a few more weeks until the end of May when we took the stage for the first time. I still remember the feeling of waiting in the curtain for my first que which happened to be “Gnik Nus”, now my smallest que in the entire show. I was nervous, excited, in fact I think I was still in disbelief that I was even there.
Night after night more queues were added to my track and before I knew it the first official shows with the new cast came on September 5, 2008. A few weeks after I also graduated from high school and thankfully got to go home to celebrate with my friends!
I have now performed in over 100 shows and I have danced the duet “Yesterday” a few times. At least once a night I still find myself looking out into the audience and thinking to myself, “Wow, I am really here!” Every once in a while I will catch a glimpse of a young girl in the audience that has the same sparkle in her eyes as I am sure I did just two short years ago.
All I can say as I approach my eighteenth birthday coming up in September is that I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have been blessed with and I am so lucky that my dream really has come true! I am also lucky to have a new family at ‘LOVE’ full of amazing individuals who I learn so much from and who have helped me a lot in adjusting to my new lifestyle. As well, I am so thankful for everyone who supported me throughout my life and always believed in my dreams... that goes especially to my family! I love you all so much!!