Skipping ropes for more than 20 years, Adrienn Banhegyi has broken world records and won both world and European championships. Now, she’s starring in Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam, which will be at Verizon Arena from Feb. 28 to March 3.
A native of Hungary, Banhegyi, 29, was encouraged into the sport of skipping rope by her dad, who was a physical education teacher. She now lives in Prague, Czech Republic, and has been touring with the show for two years.
We are excited to report that Banhegyi stopped by the Savvy Kids office to answer questions from our readers!
How much time do you dedicate to stretching (or warming up)? (from Jennifer Sinele Dillard and 10-year-old dancer Kristen)
Adrienn Banhegyi: We do a 30-minute warm-up before the show, and a longer workout, including pilates and stretching, afterwards. The workout is shorter before the show so we can save energy for the performance.
How did you become so flexible (and skilled)? (from Laura Worley Treadway and Tyler)
I’ve been jumping rope for 20 years. You have to be disciplined and consistent. When I started, it was a lot of work. Now, we choose the skills we know and are best at, so we can train less and focus more on the performance.
How many years of training does it take to perform in such a dramatic show? (from Shelly Bennett Mollette)
I’ve been competing and performing for years. After about five or six years, I could perform on my own. You have to work together (with other performers) and perform in front of a lot of people. It’s a lot of work!
How old are the oldest and youngest performers? (from Rachael Kimble)
In Quidam, one of the acrobats is 47, and he’s kind of the ringmaster. Of the musicians, the band leader is 67. For traveling shows, like Quidam, performers start at age 18. The Big Top Shows, that do not travel, feature kids because they can be with their families and Cirque provides education for them.
(The average age of performers in Quidam is 25).
What’s the possibly of an untrained 52-year-old woman being added to the show? (from Mary Ruth Parker)
It depends on the character and if you play a character well. But you might need a little training!
Where’s the coolest place you have ever performed with Cirque? (from Taylor Mickelson)
I’ve been with Quidam for two years and traveled mostly in the U.S. and Canada. I’ve enjoyed Newfoundland and California.
What made you want to join Cirque? (from Tayolr Mickelson)
I had been doing competitive jump rope for years and saw a Cirque show on TV. I thought that would be a different way to continue my sport. I sent in a video and auditioned in France. After a whole day of testing, I was told I was a candidate. I waited four years to become part of a show – Wintuk in New York City.
What is your favorite part of Cirque? (from Taylor Mickelson)
Of course, the jumping rope! I love the clown acts that get the audience involved. We’re involved every night and we follow what’s going on backstage on TVs. I also like the closing act, where 15 acrobats are throwing each other in the air. It’s amazing!
What do you like most and least about your job? (from Pam Hawkins)
My least favorite is the makeup process. It used to take me three and a half hours, but now it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get ready. I like the live music. I most enjoy working with all the different people and learning about their cultures. The performers come from 18 different countries.
Do you have other family members who perform with Cirque? (from Pam Hawkins)My younger sister is also in Quidam.
We perform the same rotating character.
What are some of your hobbies? (from Pam Hawkins)
I take my guitar with me when we travel. I like to explore new places, and I like to learn new languages. I speak German, English, French, Czech and Hungarian.
What advice do you have for young people who want to pursue a career in the arts or sports? (from Savvy Kids)
Do what you like and stay with it, so you won’t feel like you’re working. Keep being diligent, set goals and don’t be scared. Practice, practice and try, try, try!
Quidam is the story of Young Zoé who is bored; her parents, distant and apathetic, ignore her. Her life has lost all meaning. Seeking to fill the void of her existence, she slides into an imaginary world—the world of Quidam—where she meets characters who encourage her to free her soul.Tickets are available by calling 1-800-745-3000 or at the Verizon Arena Box Office.