Cirque du Soleil’s Alanna Baker talks about bringing OVO to the UK

OVO, meaning “egg” in Portuguese, is a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives. It is love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye – and the feeling is mutual.

Cirque du Soleil brings OVO to arenas around the UK from 16 August – 7 October 2018.

Can you tell me a bit about what the show is about?
OVO is such a fun, happy, loving family friendly show. I always say there’s stuff for everyone. Whether you’re 6years old or 60 it works for all. It’s all about the day in the life of an insect and amongst that a love story occurs. The message deep within the show is also about acceptance. We’re all different insects but we work together and support the whole colony!

How did you get into gymnastics and performing in Cirque du Soleil?
I started in gymnastics from a very young age. It was part of my life ever since I can remember. I trained in normal gymnastics to start with and then at the age of 7, they asked if I wanted to try out Sports Acrobatics, I loved it and this is what I stuck with until I retired at 19. I represented my country many times which for me was a goal of mine. I became Women’s Pair European Champion 2011 and bronze medalist at the World Championships 2012.
My life long dream first started when I saw my first Cirque show when I was 8 years old, I said to my parents ‘that’s what I wanna do when I’m older’. Of course back then I had a way to go but I liked to dream big. I continued to train and then just after I finished competing there was a closed audition held at my gym. I got onto their database and then waited.. continuing to train in the meantime. 6 months after I’d finished competing I had a call from Cirque asking if I wanted to join. April 2012 I finished competing and ran away with the circus October 2012.

What’s the difference in performing in Cirque du Soleil and competing for Great Britain in gymnastics?
Being an artist and being an athlete is completely different, but coming from an athlete background is definitely helpful. So when competing you are working towards one or maybe two major competitions a year, compared to as an artist you have to perform 7-10 shows a week. The training is completely different you have to be on your A-game 24/7. You need to know your own body and how far you can push your limits. However the feeling I used to get when competing is the exact same feeling I still get everyday on stage.

What are your favourite parts of touring around the world?
The fact I get to do what I love and travel the world is really quite something. I get to visit places I wouldn’t necessarily travel to. You get to explore different cities and their cultures. Find new brunch spots, cafes things to do and see. It’s fun. We’re always on the go.

You performed OVO recently at the Royal Albert Hall. How do you think it will compare to performing in arenas around the UK?
For me performing at the Royal Albert Hall was an incredible experience, something so special that will never be forgotten. That feeling I had every single night, to be able to perform where my dream first stared and in front of a home crowd, I can’t ask for anything more.
Performing in the arenas around the UK, I’m still going to get that extra buzz as I’m so much closer to home compared to other places, plus I have so many visitors whilst in the UK. People I used to compete with and train with etc.

Why should people come and see OVO?
It’s a whole lot of colour, love, happiness, fun, music and incredible acrobatics, it’s guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma


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