Cirque du Soleil OVO: Raising the big top

The blue and yellow structure costs about $1.6M to construct and is produced in Bordeaux, France.

Cirque du Soleil OVO sets up in San Jose, CA. Raising the big top is a sure sign that the circus has arrived!
Raising the Big Top in San Jose
Cirque du Soleil OVO sets up in San Jose, CA. Raising the big top is a sure sign that the circus has arrived!

With the raising of the big top, Cirque du Soleil’s OVO has officially arrived in San Jose from San Francisco.

Last week, we had the opportunity to check out what it takes to set up the enormous big top which houses not only the entire insect world on stage, but also 2,500 audience members on a given evening. The blue and yellow structure costs about $1.6M to construct and is produced in Bordeaux, France. In an interview, Head of Tent Mike Holper says Cirque du Soleil has been working with the Bordeaux company since its inception and its a partnership that has enabled Cirque to source tents to custom specifications for its touring shows.

Teams get ready to start raising the large poles. Outside the tent, another team uses rope to pull up the tent material. A medic watches on prepared to deal with any emergencies.
Teams get ready to start raising the large poles. Outside the tent, another team uses rope to pull up the tent material. A medic watches on prepared to deal with any emergencies.

On the particular day the tent was being set up, it was a mild, sunny day. Holper notes that conditions such as extreme winds would cause for a scheduled raising of the big top to be postponed. The raising of each part of the big top requires coordination of the teams inside the tent raising each of the large poles and the team outside the tent which uses rope to pull up the tent material. The tent, when fully disassembled breaks apart into eight pieces. However, once the big top is raised one could never tell.

Photos below. For a video of the event, check out an earlier post, “Inside Cirque du Soleil – OVO: Raising the Big Top in San Jose.

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