Cirque du Soleil returns to Orlando with Crystal, a brand-new arena creation. This unique production explores the artistic limits of ice for the first time in the company’s 34-year history and pushes performance boundaries by combining stunning skating and acrobatic feats that defy the imagination. Crystal performs at Orlando’s Amway Center from Wednesday, August 1 through Sunday, August 5 for sevens shows.

In Crystal, gymnasts and skaters perform acrobatics on the ice and in the air, seamlessly combining multiple disciplines for a world class audience experience. Synchronized skating, freestyles figures, and extreme skating are featured alongside traditional circus disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial traps and hand to hand. The result is an adrenaline-packed show for the whole family that pushes the boundaries and surpasses all expectations!

Watch world-class ice skaters and acrobats explore their new frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics.

Follow Crystal, the lead character, on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her own imagination. Feel the adrenaline as she soars through this surreal world at high speed to become what she was always destined to be: confident, liberated, and empowered.

It was a pleasure to sit down with one of the “out” skaters, Shawn Sawyer, for this Hotspots exclusive interview:

When was the first time you put on a pair of Ice Skates, and how quickly did you know you loved the sport?

The first pair of ice skates were a pair of hockey skates, and I did immediately like skating because I am Canadian. When I was 9 and put on my first pair of figure skating skates, I fell immediately in love.

What was your first professional gig?

For my first gig at 12, I got a free painting instead of money. The painting was by Toller Cranston who introduced art into figure skating. He was very famous and now the painting is probably worth more than any amount of money I would have been paid.

When did you start competing?

I pretty much started competing a couple month after lacing up my first pair of Figure skates, so at age 9. By the age of 12 I was doing international competitions.

Who did you or do you look up to in the Figure skating world?

Throughout the years I did have a couple people I looked up to. Basically they were world champions from Canada…. Brian Orser, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, etc.

What was the best contest/medal you won and why?

It was never about the medal, it was about how well your competition went. So it was the national medal I received when I qualified for the Olympic team. It was the most important medal, as it allowed me to go to the Olympics.

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How did you get hired at Cirque and how does it feel working for the iconic Cirque Du Soleil?

I am now based out of Montreal where the Cirque headquarters are. I was brought into their workshop and they were testing me out. After the first week they approached me and said they were interested in keeping me on board. It felt really great, as it was the next step in my evolution as an artist.

What’s the best part of traveling with Cirque?

The best part is the family bond that is created with all my co-workers. We spend so many hours together that they truly become your family.

What’s has been your favorite city on the tour?

So far my favorite city, other than Montreal, is San Diego, because I was surprised of the feeling of the west coast. It was definitely on my bucket list, and I loved it.

What should audiences expect from the production of Crystal?

This is the first production, from Cirque, that is playing with the element of the ice. They definitely put everything in line in order to give everyone who buys a ticket a great experience. There are times you forget about the ice and are enraptured with the artists. Everything in this show moves in a much faster pace than Cirque has ever done before.

For more information on Shawn: Instagram.com/official_shawn_sawyer.

For more information, visit cirquedusoleil.com/crystal.