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Totem: Behind The Scenes At Cirque Du Soleil's New Show In Miami (JIPSY PHOTOS)

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TOTEM MIAMI CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SUN LIFE JIPSY
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BY JIPSY

Cirque Du Soleil was introduced into my life way back in 1992. It was New York City and the show was Alegria. Little did I know that what was under this blue and yellow tent in Battery City Park would be so deeply memorable. The costumes, the lights, the stage, the acts and the music! Till this day when Vai Vedrai plays, I get that romantic feeling, and the excitement of that trapeze act surfaces as if it was the first time.

Now after 20 years and 7 shows under my belt, I am just as excited for the new production, Totem, that makes a stop right here in Miami during its North American tour.

The day before opening, I met the Hoops Dancers, Eric Hernandez, 22, and Shandien Larance, 20, who showed off their skills and told me what they'e been doing since arriving in Miami.

"I just came back from Bahamas on a cruise, and I've gone to South Beach a couple of times. It's amazing," Hernandez shared with us. Will he be returning? "Yes, I loved it." (STORY CONTINUES BELOW.)

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As for Larance, she just arrived a couple of days ago from her break with family in New Mexico. "I've been to Hollywood Beach, but I'm looking forward to doing more in Miami."

After our chat, I watched these two take small hoops and create figures and shapes that evoke various animals and images -- what will be a narrative dance act. I was already in awe at the warmup, I couldn't wait to see it in full on costume. (Check them out in photos 1-4.)

I also watched a little snippet of the Unicycle Bowl act. They are five young women from China, who were not only riding tall unicycles and balancing bowls on their heads, but tossing the bowls from their feet onto their heads without using their hands. I mean, wow. (5 - 7.)

And under The Artistic Act, the Russian Bar act warmed up. This consists of 10 artists in total, performing feats of strength, balance and acrobatic movements, and during their rehearsal, they definitely showed us their skills. (16-18)

The costumes -- no surprise here -- are amazing. For Totem, designer Kym Barrett's initial approach to the costumes was rooted in documentary-based reality and the show's major theme of evolution and cycle of seasons. Neon-bright colors, vivid, shiny fabrics and playful details lend a summer atmosphere, while with the abundance of fall, the unicyclists' costumes feature seed pods, flowers, trees and leaves. To create winter, the Roller Skate act duo is dressed in white and silver.

The one to keep an eye out for is The Crystal Man, a recurring character that represents the life force. His dazzling costume (literally) is entirely covered of small mirrors and crystals. The glittering mobile mosaic is made up of about 4,500 reflective components on a stretch velvet leotard. (Photo 11)

All this comes to life on Thursday January 10th and runs until February 24th in a tent at Miami's Sun Life Stadium parking lot 14. Tickets range from $58 in Level 4 to $268.50 for the VIP Rouge experience. For tickets and further information, check out cirquedusoleil.com/totem or call 1-800-450-1480.

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