The Amazon of Amaluna



An Amazon Goddess bends backward in the spotlight, her body contorted in a vexatious position. Absorbing the moonlight engulfing her island home, she defies gravity; standing effortlessly on one arm, she balances twenty feet above the ground.

Bellowing drums juxtapose her every motion as the Amazon guides her sisters back to the safety of their secret village, frightened by the unfamiliar faces of Atlantans. After months of anticipation, Cirque du Soleil has finally brought its traveling tent back to Atlanta.

For 30 years, fans have been amazed by the beauty and athleticism displayed at a Cirque du Soleil show. Starting from humble beginnings as street performers in Montreal, Quebec, Cirque du Soleil has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with a global fan base.

Today, Cirque du Soleil has evolved into a performing-art ensemble that tours the world year round, providing a cinematic experience for viewers. The newest addition to the traveling circuit is the show ‘Amaluna’, a name that translates to “mother moon” in several languages. Captain of the Amazons and three-year member of Cirque du Soleil, gymnast Lindsey Bruck-Ayotte, explains her first experience with the organization.

“I was at a coach’s convention when I first heard about the audition to join,” Bruck-Ayotte said. “I really missed competitive gymnastics, so when I found out about it I went out to Las Vegas in late 2010. A few months later they asked me to join Amaluna as captain of the uneven-bars team, better known as the ‘Amazons.’”

Although Bruck-Ayotte only recently joined Cirque du Soleil, she has a long history of gymnastics, from competitions to coaching.

“I’ve been doing gymnastics for about 27 years and started when I was three years old,” Bruck-Ayotte said. “I was on the gymnastics team [at] University of Michigan prior to working with Cirque, and after my career as a gymnast ended, I began coaching at the University of New Hampshire. That’s when everything changed.”


A sensory experience

Although Cirque du Soleil has been around for three decades, ‘Amaluna’ is unique from their previous shows; featuring a primarily female ensemble, Amaluna breaks the gender norms of performance-artistry.

“Amaluna is unique because the cast is 70% women, with an all-woman band,” Bruck-Ayotte said. “Director Diane Paulus really wanted to emphasize the talent and beauty of women; she wanted to display female strength and remove the audience from their normal, every-day world.”

Amaluna spokesperson Rowenna Dunn has a slightly longer tenure with Cirque du Soleil but agrees that Amaluna is like nothing anyone’s ever seen before.

“No two shows are the same with Cirque du Soleil,” Dunn said. “Specifically because it’s a complete sensory experience and everything is designed seamlessly. Viewers are able to experience intricate storylines and whimsical performances, all of which are open for interpretation.”

Although audiences rarely get to see anything more than the finished product for these mystifying shows, Dunn assures that the nightly show is merely the tip of the iceberg.

“Amaluna is big, but it goes beyond a single blue and yellow tent,” Dunn said. “We have six tents on six continents and we carry about 2,000 tons of equipment for setup wherever we travel. Everything is on eight trucks and the typical setup requires six days of work. Whatever city we stop in, that’s where we all live until we have a new destination.”


Life on the road

After hearing such astounding numbers, the first question that arises is: why are they carrying 2,000 tons of equipment? Dunn explains that it is simply because employees of Cirque du Soleil literally live on the road every day of the year.

“We spend about four weeks at a time in each city we visit. The coolest part about it all is the fact that we have a complete housing setup for all 120 of our traveling employees,” Dunn said. “We’re fully equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, laundry and a site team that takes care of plumbing, electricity and all of the essentials. We have everything you could possibly need on the road with us at all times.”

Although Bruck-Ayotte was born in the American city of Syracuse, New York, Dunn explains that Amaluna’s ensemble is one of the most multicultural you’ll ever see.

“We have about seventeen different nationalities traveling with us,” Dunn said. “We even have our own Immigration and Tour Services Department, designated specifically for the unique backgrounds of all of our performers.”

Despite the whirlwind of cultures that Cirque du Soleil embraces, Dunn claims that there’s still an extremely family oriented environment with the cast.

“It’s hard being away from our families and home lives for such long periods of time, so some of us even travel with our families,” Dunn said “We also try to keep a festive atmosphere for everyone’s comfort; we celebrate the holidays of every culture on board and we’re able to enjoy foods from all over the world, every day. Even though we all come from different parts of the world, we’re still unified as one big family.”


The strength of an Amazon

Bruck-Ayotte also made the point that although it seems like a lavish lifestyle of traveling and fun, the daily grind of being a gymnast for Amaluna is quite stressful.

“Working for the show is a great way to stay fit, but the training can be really strenuous,” Bruck-Ayotte said. “We train six days out of the week, with extensive cardio and bar-work. We have about eight to ten shows a week and it can be hectic.”

Officially listed on the bill as an Amazon, Bruck-Ayotte’s role in Amaluna is best described as a “warrior goddess.”

“As an Amazon, I protect our sacred island, leading my people to safety and defending them from unknown intruders,” Bruck-Ayotte said. “There’s actually a very intricate storyline behind all of the entertainment.”

Although Bruck-Ayotte and Dunn have contrasting roles as employees of Amaluna, they both agree that the show is an empowering experience, stressing the power of femininity and women as a whole.

“It’s a great show of strength for us as women,” Bruck Ayotte said. “It shows the world that we have the power to do all of the same physical feats as men, if not more. We get to express not only our physical strength and talent but also our beauty and grace. It’s the perfect balance.”

Amaluna begins its four week stint Oct. 3, premiering in their signature blue and yellow tent at Atlantic Station. Anyone interested in attending can purchase tickets by visiting or by calling 1-800-4501480.