Thursday, August 6, 2009

Maker's Mark

Cirque du Soleil's latest e-news featured a profile of former Victorian coach turned Cirque acrobatic coach Mark Calton.

(via Gymnastics Coaching blog)

For the past 20 years, Mark has worked as a high-level gymnastics coach in Australia. Our team met first met him in 1999 during the American Cup in St. Petersburg. The following year, during a stay in Sydney for the summer Olympics, our paths crossed once again, and Mark accepted our proposal to collaborate as a partner to the Casting team. At the time, his mandate for Cirque was to keep an eye on the local acrobatics and sports scenes, cover major competitions, and lend a hand during our auditions. A few months ago, Mark joined the Cirque family by becoming Acrobatic Head Coach – Touring Shows.

What is your most memorable experience with our casting team?

Apart from the 3 a.m. phone calls I used to get from Montreal (there is a 10-hour time difference to Australia), I would say it’s the true satisfaction of seeing an athlete I have auditioned go into a show and the great feedback that the majority of them give me on the life-changing experience it is. My new position also allows me to catch up with some of them. Also, the actual casting team in itself is a pretty memorable group

How is it working at Cirque du Soleil IHQ?

Working here is like being in the wash cycle. There are many things going on at once, a lot of different perspectives to be considered and so little time to do it all. I travel a lot so time here is short with a lot to do.

Which aspect of your new coaching job at Cirque do you enjoy the most?

The mix of people I get to meet and work with. They are from such a diverse range of backgrounds.

What is the biggest motivation or challenge for a coach working with athletes who will be performing on stage?

8–10 shows a week, 350–440 shows a year… keeping artists healthy and motivated, and trying to balance the demands of training and performing to allow this to happen. This is totally different from peaking for specific events, as they’d be used to from their athletic careers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

mark is a fantastic coach, the best i have had!