CirqueClub /// “Fly with Alan J. Silva of ZUMANITY”


Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil is mostly about the pleasures of the flesh, but for many viewers it also serves as a heartfelt journey. Aerialist Alan J. Silva expresses unrequited-then requited-love as he flirts with his paramour, eventually finding himself suspended by nothing but narrow silk sheets that drape straight down from the theater’s high ceiling. For Silva, the act of him soaring above the crowd represents that anything can be attained – even impossible love. “When the audience [first] sees me,” he says, “They never expect that I will fly through the air.”

Silva, 30, is a sixth-generation circus performer and always knew he was going to stay within the family business. He began performing at 6, as many children in circus families do, as a tumbler and eventually learned to maneuver on any number of the highflying acts that would wow audiences: the trampoline, straps, Russian bar, and flying trapeze with his sister, brother and father. But it wasn’t until he saw another Cirque du Soleil aerialist in La Nouba on the silks, or Tissu, that he knew this was the discipline he was going to pursue. Trained on the straps and trapeze, Silva applied those techniques to Tissu. At the time, “there wasn’t anyone doing silks in [his native] Brazil, so I was the first Tissu act.” His performance life with silks began in 1998 and he has been flying high with Zumanity ever since it opened in 2003, even meeting his wife Bethany, who works in wardrobe, while in the show.

A seasoned veteran of not only Zumanity but also the demanding circus arts, Silva has long been well-conditioned to stay aloft during his aerial maneuvers. His chiseled physique is derived from a lifetime of rigorous training. “I grew up preparing my body to perform and now it’s a matter of maintaining,” he explains. “doing 10 shows each week keeps me in shape. Stretching and warm-up are very important.” And through the rigorous schedule, Silva knows that even if he decides not to fly night after night, he’ll always be an entertainer. “I never found anything that I would leave circus to do,” he jokingly admits, “like I never said ‘Oh I want to be a veterinarian.’”

{ SOURCE: CirqueClub | }