Filed under: Broadway Across America
Returning to their South Florida turf, direct from Broadway, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, soared into the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center last week, featuring four South Floridians. With Uranmandakh Amarsanaa, Vladimir Dovgan, and Buyankhishig Ganbaatar on the dressing room name placards you might think you had walked into the United Nations. Walking backstage, however, one could repeatedly hear dancers and acrobats delightfully proclaim how nice it was to be “home”.
That’s because Neil Goldberg, the company’s creator and director, is a long-time South Florida resident. He recruits performers from around the world to train for his productions at Dream Studios in Pompano Beach. Performers from the Mongolian School of Contortion, the Acrobatic Training Center of Beijing; the Sports Acrobatic Association of Poland; the Moscow Circus and more come together under one roof to receive direction from a resident team of coaches, choreographers, gymnasts, aerialists, and writers.
Started over 15 years ago in a small 1,500 square foot space in Hollywood, Florida, Cirque Productions Inc. has grown into a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Pompano housing rehearsal studios and administrative offices. Some of South Florida’s finest seamstresses and wardrobe designers toil away in this colorful space, sculpting and hand-painting masks and headdresses. And the local connection isn’t just back stage.
Among the Olympic-level gymnasts, Jared Burnett, the production’s electric violinist was born and raised in Florida. “It is so nice to see this area again, to drive my car, to be able to sit on the beach I love so much, and to just take a few minutes to relax and see family and friends, ” said Jared.
South Floridian, Kevin Yungman, an aspiring 16-year-old actor, also performed with the cast of the Broadway show. A student at Cypress Bay High School, Kevin was selected from other hopefuls in South Florida who auditioned for a chance to perform a feature role in the production for the Arsht Center run.
Naomi Sampson was also excited to be home to celebrate Mother’s Day with her family in Davie. Having joined Cirque Dreams six years ago, she has become an expert on travelling, but last week she was able to hug her mom for the first time in six months! Hannah Sampson, Naomi’s sister, and Miami Herald contributor said, “I will be there, watching my sister fly in our own backyard.”
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