Cirque du Soleil artist, Caroline Lauzon, shares her family travel memories with Family Traveller. Talks about juggling a high flying career with being a mom. And offers some great advice for budding young performers.
Tell us more about your role in O by Cirque du Soleil
I have been on a beautiful adventure as a performer with Cirque du Soleil for 18 years now. And I’ve been with the “O” production in Las Vegas for eight years.
I’m a flyer on the “bateau” and the female zebra character. I have a strong partner who hangs by his knees, throws me in the air and swings me around. It’s the best feeling ever. There’s nothing like it.
I’ve been very fortunate to be versatile as an acrobat. And I was able to perform on four different productions with the company: “O”, IRIS, ZARKANA, KÀ and Cirque’s 2012 Oscar performance. I love my job and hope to be physically able to keep doing it for a little longer.
How did you get into Cirque du Soleil?
I was a gymnast from the age of five. Then I switched over to diving and was on the Canadian National Team on the 10m platform. After my competitive diving career, I visited a friend who was a performer at “O”. And I fell in love instantly with the show. I remember thinking, “This is what I want to do.” So I did. I sent in my VHS tape (yeah, it was that long ago). I got a call back immediately for a new Cirque project. And the rest is history.
What are your special family vacation memories growing up?
Flying wasn’t an option because it was very expensive and my parents were already spending a great deal on my gymnastics. So we camped a lot as a family and drove a lot. I remember one specific trip where we drove down to Wildwood with my brother and I crammed into my mom’s little Nissan King cab with folding seats in the back. It was so uncomfortable. But we laughed a lot and really had the best time. I’ll never forget that trip.
You’re mum to four year old Maia. Where do you like to vacation as a family?
I love to take Maia with me everywhere. I think traveling is very important for children. So far we’ve visited Brazil, Mexico, Hawaii, Seattle, Vancouver, Montreal, California and Utah several times.
As a high level athlete I got to travel a lot from a young age. And I believe it’s the best way to open up your mind and horizons to new cultures, food and languages. My daughter’s a great little traveler and loves to fly.
What do you look for in a destination or a hotel?
I usually think of what activities are appropriate for Maia’s age. And also if it looks clean and family friendly overall
Are you active on vacation? Or lie by the pool?
I love both. Just like in day to day life I believe there’s a time for activity and a time for quiet time. That applies on vacation as well. For example, we’ll go on a hike, then lie by the pool for the rest of the day.
I tend to overdo it on the activity side. I always want to see every little thing in a new place. But that’s the beauty of traveling, there’s always more to see.
What are your bucket list destinations?
Europe as a whole. I went to France, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. But I’d love to go back and visit all the little cities and nooks in Europe.
Portugal for the food; Greece for the blues and whites; England for the rain and tea; Scandinavian countries for their black liquorice.
But one place I must visit before I die is Lake Louise in my very own country, Canada. My grandmother had the most beautiful portrait in front of it. And it’s always seemed so magical to me: the jade color and water as clear as crystal.
Any great tips for traveling with a toddler?
I’ve been a very lucky mom because my daughter is an excellent little traveler. One bit of advice would be to bring lots of snack. And sometimes producing a new little surprise toy helps them stay still for a little.
Traveling with a toddler requires lots of patience. Give yourself way more time than you would travelling alone. Then you won’t be stressed. Stressed mom equals stressed kid.
How does being a mom fit with your Cirque du Soleil life?
It took some adjustment. The sleep deprivation at first was very difficult as our job is so physical. But as Maia grew and her sleeping habits got better, so did I.
I think our schedule’s a blessing for pre-schoolers, because I got to spend all day with her.
Now that she’s in school, we’re together a little less. But we try to make every minute count. It’s not quantity but quality that matters.
What advice would you give kids dreaming of a career in Cirque du Soleil?
Follow your dreams, no matter what. Passion is the most important thing in the world. It sounds cheesy but if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. And I’m lucky enough to have that.
Don’t be scared to push yourself and learn new skills, fail, but try and try and try. Acting, dancing, singing, flipping or just performing in general takes talent. But mostly it’s a lot of work and thousands of hours of practice.
What makes O by Cirque du Soleil so wonderful for kids?
It’s magic. The lights, the music, the stage, the costumes. All of it feels like a dream.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw “O”. I just couldn’t believe what I’d seen. I think for kids it’s the same but amplified by a thousand. Seeing ”O” is a truly magical experience for all ages.
See O by Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio Las Vegas. The show’s suitable for children over the age of five. Visit Cirque du Soleil to find out more about performance times, prices and to book tickets.
Looking for more high flying inspiration? Check out the circus schools and other amazing experiences for kids on Club Med family vacations. And don’t forget to follow Family Traveller on Instagram and Facebook for even more family vacation inspiration.