'The Peacock Goddess,' Amy Mc Clendon of Cirque du Soleil's 'Amaluna' Interview
The exquisite and beautifully staged “Amaluna,” Cirque du Soleil’s newest traveling production, has arrived in Seattle for it’s first US engagement. Due to the popularity of the show, even before opening, an additional 10 performances have been added to the schedule running from January 31st to March 24th. Â <Ticket information at the bottom of this article>
The story centers aroundÂ a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honors femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next.
One of it’s performers’ in a lead role, Amy Mc Clendon as The Peacock Goddess, spoke with me about what it’s like to be part of the famed troupe and her stand-out costume that weighs six pounds.
Allie Hanley: Congratulations on landing one of the premier roles in the circus. You are playing The Peacock Goddess in the mostly female cast of ‘Amaluna.’ It must have been very competitive. Tell me a little about yourself and the process you went through to land the role.
Amy Mc Clendon: Well, I’m originally from Jacksonville, Florida and am a professional dancer out of New York.
AH: Cirque du Soleil is based in Montreal, Canada. Being based in New York, how did you originally get involved with the Canadian company?
AMc: I saw online that they were looking for an African American dancer to audition in the role of the Peacock Goddess. They were looking for a graceful dancer, and I had a thought that maybe I should go. So I went into the audition, after they looked at my resume. There were about 40 other dancers there. Through a process of going through technique and then learning choreography, they eliminated a few people until we were down to four people. Then we had to do a bit of improvisation on the spot. Then they said it would take a few months before they let you know because the decision making process would have to go through Montreal. The audition was on a Friday but actually they let me know the following Monday that I got the job. It was a pretty exciting experience and a bit nerve racking throughout some points of it, but definitely rewarding.
AH: That’s an awesome achievement. Can you describe to me about the character you play and how she ties into the main theme of the show?
AMC: I play The Peacock Goddess. She among all the women represents beauty and love. She brings Romeo onto the island to fall in love with Miranda; But before he falls in love he must go through the Peacock Goddess. I teach him what love is, and how to take care of a woman. Once they fall in love, like a good teacher, I come back and give him tests. I test his love to see if he really cares for Miranda by taking her away. He has to fight for her and then eventually getting her back.”
AH: Sounds like an amazing story. I know it’s a first for Cirque du Soleil to have a monstly female cast. Your costume is simply gorgeous. What’s it like to wear?
AMc: I have two costumes. One of them is a white dress. It has over 6500 crystals on it. I wear a tail with that dress, which wears an additional 3 pounds. Performing in it is a bit taxing on my body. The circus lets me wear just the tail sometimes during certain parts of the performance. Its very beautiful.
My other costume consists of a black leather halter top, black and purple pants with some wings. Its very light weight and I can move around in it. For the fire scene I change out of the lycra pants for some leather pants and leather wings. They are a bit more heavy and not as giving, but I am only in them for a few minutes so it’s bearable.
Then I change back into the white costume.
The tail is about 3 pounds, and the total costume is 7 pounds. It was a challenge in the beginning. After wearing it with the tail for some of the performances it’s not a big deal. It’s very showy, with the crystals on it and the tail.
AH: What’s the most thrilling part of doing this show?
AMc: I have a couple things. The first one I think is just seeing how much everyone loves the show and seeing their faces, and how much they enjoy it. Along with that, the opportunities to do the same show over and over again, so that I can give my best every single time. Those are the things that keep me going, and excite me; and the fact that we get to travel the world. It’s very thrilling and important as an artist in general.
AH: What moment are you most proud of during the show?
AMc: I don’t know about an exact moment but I would actually say just the show in itself. If you saw the show last April when we opened to seeing it now, it’s completely different. I’m proud to say that I am proud of something that is living and breathing. It continues to expand and exceed all expectation.
Follow Amy on Twitter atÂ amyl1ve
Also starting on Wednesday, January 30, tickets may also be purchased in person atÂ Cirque du Soleil box office, located inside the Big Top’s entrance tent.Â (Regular box office hours are from 2 hours prior to show time to 30 minutes after the beginning of the show on show days.)
Performance schedule: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8 p.m.; Thursdays through Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. No performances on Mondays and select Tuesdays.Â As it may vary, please visitÂ cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna for the detailed show schedule.
The show is set to run through March 17th don’t delay in getting your tickets.