How Cirque du Soleil's the Bondarenko Brothers train for the stage 

So You Want to Be an Acrobat

Ever wonder how acrobats do what they do? We talked to two of Cirque du Soleil's many talented performers, the Ukrainian-born brothers Andrii and Oleksandr Bondarenko, to find out. The Bondarenkos perform as an acrobatic pair called an adagio, which consists of a strong, bulkier base (Oleksandr) and a light, gymnastic flyer (Andrii). They started the sport around age 10 as an outlet for their youthful energy. "Acrosport was really fun for me because they had a trampoline, so I could jump and spend my energy on good stuff," Andrii says. While Andrii focused on flying through the air, Oleksandr hit the weights hard. "You need to be really strong," he says. "I did a lot of muscle work — I ate everything, and spent more and more time with the weights." Now, they travel the world as members of the Cirque company, performing feats of ridiculous strength and balance to the shock and delight of their audiences. Here's a glimpse at how they do it.

  • Illustration by John Phillips


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