From Blackpool to the Vegas Strip: meet the British star of Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère | Visit Las Vegas

Ross Gibson together with his daughter, at home in Las Vegas. ‘To British travellers keen to visit, I’d say don’t come with any expectations.’
Photograph: Andy J Scott for the Guardian

Timing will be essential in a baby’s life when it comes discovering one thing they’ll latch on to endlessly. For me it was the Seoul Olympics, once I was eight years outdated. I bear in mind being completely blown away by the tumbling and saying to my mum: “I want to do that.”

When my mom realised I used to be critical, she took me to the native gymnastics membership in Blackpool – as a lot to save lots of our sofas from getting used as crash mats as anything.

I tried totally different areas – the acrobatic aspect, trampolining, inventive gymnastics – however cherished the individuality of tumbling. It was only a 35-metre monitor and every little thing you may make your physique do, and as excessive as you may make it go and as quick as you may make it spin and as many occasions as you may make it flip.

In 1997 I joined the British nationwide group, and through the years I medalled in a number of European and world championships. All the whereas, I used to be in search of a solution to translate my athletic capacity to the stage. I’d been hooked on musical theatre since I used to be a child watching Cats from the entrance row, so I honed my craft with a youth ballet in France and performing arts school in England.

Sadly, I had a horrible voice. I might at all times be the token backflipper within the refrain.

Las Vegas, Nevada. May 20, 2018. Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil performer Ross Gibson

‘As long as I still have the love and the drive for it, and the physical ability, I’m going to maintain going as Red Bird,’ says Gibson. Photograph: Andy J Scott for the Guardian

Seeing Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam on the Royal Albert Hall switched on the sunshine that I might dance and do acrobatic tips and be a type of larger-than-life characters. I auditioned for Cirque in 2000, in a strenuous, daylong course of that began with 40 hopefuls and ended with six. They mentioned: “We love what you can do. We hope to find you a job.”

I waited 4 years for the suitable one: Red Bird in Mystère, Cirque’s “flower in the desert”, planted 25 years in the past at Treasure Island on the Las Vegas Strip.

No matter what number of occasions you do it, taking place the Strip stuns you. When mates go to I’ll do the vacationer drive, and I discover my mouth falling open in awe, in disbelief that I reside and work right here.

Las Vegas, Nevada. May 20, 2018. Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil performer Ross Gibson

Getting prepared for showtime. Photograph: Andy J Scott for the Guardian

Before moving, I’d solely seen the town in motion pictures like Casino or Ocean’s Eleven. Blackpool is seemingly the “Vegas of the North,” with the lights and resorts and amusements. There’s a on line casino. But the Strip actually blew my socks off. I couldn’t imagine the size.

I’ve been a part of its magic since 2004, enjoying a magnificently plumed creature in a fantastical manufacturing about creation of life. It’s so visible that it doesn’t matter what language you converse or for those who perceive the story. People stroll away saying: “So why do you think there was a massive inflatable snail at the end of that show?”

This is a metropolis of exuberanceand outlandish feats.

And sure, folks truly reside right here. I’m keen on enjoying in our yard pool with my husband Ben and our three-year-old daughter Siella, and barbecuing with mates at close by parks. We can go 45 minutes northwest to Mount Charleston for spring snowboarding within the pine timber, or 45 minutes east to Lake Mead for scenic boating. In Britain, you have to go lots farther afield.

I like that about Vegas. We could also be barely contained in the course of nowhere within the desert, however we nonetheless have these facilities on our doorsteps.

It’s unbelievable to assume that each one these years we by no means had a professional sports activities group. Then abruptly, Vegas Golden Knights hockey got here out of nearly nowhere and has actually introduced Vegas collectively. Tickets are like gold mud proper now! Skin City Body Painting, the company I co-founded, has been doing stomach and face portray for video games. It’s sensible.

To British travellers eager to go to, I’d say don’t come with any expectations. I don’t assume anybody can fairly grasp simply what Vegas is.

Las Vegas, Nevada. May 20, 2018. Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil performer Ross Gibson with daughter Siella Jane Beaufils Gibson and partner Benoit Beaufils

With daughter Siella and husband Ben. Photograph: Andy J Scott for the Guardian

There’s an entire world of a metropolis right here. Each lodge is making an attempt to be greater and higher than the final. You can’t flip a nook with out being greatly surprised by the Bellagio fountains, the Mirage volcano or the Venetian’s grand canal. You can’t open a theatre door with out being blown away by Céline Dion, Elton John or Mystère’s 15-person teeterboard quantity (I give a killer backstage tour as effectively). If the mega-nightclub scene isn’t your fashion, downtown has nice little bars and eating places and pop-up cabarets the place you would possibly catch a headliner with out even realising.

As lengthy as I nonetheless have the love and the drive for it, and the bodily capacity, I’m going to maintain going as Red Bird. I’ve cherished giving simply this one character all of the totally different elements of me. It’s change into part of me over 15 years. I can’t see myself ever taking off these tail feathers.

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