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Interview with Evgeny Kurkin, His Role in
Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna” and Photography

By Adelina, 02-01-2020

Cirque du Soleil’s extravaganza show, “Amaluna”, was a big splash in the Bay Area last winter. Set on a mysterious island governed by a goddess and their queen, Prospera, the show tells a story of love between the queen's daughter and a brave young suitor. It is to the credit of the world-class and talented performers, imaginative plot, original music, artistic stage settings, and splendid costumes that make this show truly magical and enchanting.

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

Evgeny Kurkin, the “Romeo” of the show, is not only a fantastic acrobat but also possesses an innate talent for photography. He has captured some of the most exquisite photos of the Cirque du Soleil performers on stage. 

I was quite excited to catch up with Evgeny to chat with him about his role in the show and his photography. Without further ado, here is the interview:

Q: We are so excited to have the chance to interview you and learn about your extraordinary and unique experiences. Please share with us the path leading you to become one of the top performers in the latest Cirque du Soleil show, “Amaluna”.

A: I’m excited as well, Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my experience. Right away I want to apologize for my English if some sentences would not be correct.

Gymnastic was a big part of my life. I started when I was 6 years old, I loved  it, I trained hard and always see myself staying on this path.

Before I saw Alegria (my first Cirque Du Soleil show on DVD) I never thought of joining the circus. Back then, not knowing anything about circus it seemed almost impossible to be able to become a part of Cirque Du Soleil.

Later on, I attended an audition in Moscow after which I received an invitation for training at HeadQuarters in Montreal. I did that twice with one year in between.

After that, I finally managed to get the contact in my first Cirque Du Soleil show “Saltimbanco”. I’ve performed there as a general acrobat in the acts such as Russian swing, bungee and my favorite the Chinese pole. After Saltimbanco closed I got the contact for the Solo Chinese pole act in Amaluna.

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

Q: What is your role in “Amaluna” and what skills do you bring to the show?

A: In Amaluna you can recognize a couple of familiar motives and characters from the famous plays, including Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Tempest”.

My character is called Romeo. The story evolves as my character falls in love with the girl Miranda and they have to overcome many obstacles throughout the show to prove their true love.

Acrobatically in the show, I do a solo Chinese Pole act where I climb a 7 meter tall pole with only my hands or drop down and stop just before I’m about to hit the floor.  

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

Q: You have also built a portfolio of photos that is extraordinary. Please share with us your passion for photography. Some of your photos of Cirque du Soleil’s performers are absolutely breathtaking. Please share with us what you are aiming for when taking the shots as an “insider”.

A: First I really appreciate that you enjoy the photos! 

It took me a couple of times to get used to the dim and fast-changing light during the show. Technically it’s challenging. I think for this particular type of “show photography”, being a gymnast half of my life helping me to kind of predict the acrobatic movement before it began, which I think is important as it can be very fast and very easy to miss. I love to photograph the show knowing it’s message and intention behind every artist’s movement. Whether it’s a happy bright scene or dark and more mysterious, I like to find a way to translate the mood of it onto the photograph.

It definitely helps a lot being an “insider” as apart from trying to get a general idea of an act or the show as a whole I’m trying to pick out the glimpse of the relationship in between the characters on stage. Most of the people don’t look around the stage while a certain act is going on and that’s good, that’s where you’re supposed to look but there is always a little side story going on that people are missing.

I’m still trying to find myself in photography. I also love to photograph landscapes and being in nature.

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

Q: Please share with us your sources of inspiration when creating your photographic compositions.

A: I do need to know what’s the story, what’s going on and build up my own thoughts on top of it.

I think the mood of the scene, the theme of the show, the passion of the artists will give me a lot of inspiration in the moment.

Apart from being there, I try to get inspiration from books or movies on similar subjects. I love to learn from photographers that work with dancers. These kinds of images look magical and are very expressive to me.

Q: When you are not performing or taking photographs, what are some of your favorite activities?

A: If I have any energy left after work I like to visit museums. I and my fiancé love to travel, hike. Find a great restaurant as we travel to different places with the show and eat. Can you call that activity?

Q: How many countries or cities have you traveled to and please share with us your most memorable experience while traveling.

A: That’s a hard one. There are so many incredible places in the world. It’s impossible to choose one.  I’ve visited around 69 countries. Some of them I visited only for a week and didn’t get to explore so I’d like to get back someday.

I enjoy learning about ancient history and classical art so I guess for me being in places like Greece, Italy, England, Norway is very significant. So I guess I would always remember walking through the ruins of Delphi or looking at the actual Viking ship.

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

Q: What is your advice to aspiring young people who might like to join Cirque du Soleil? What are the most important factors required for being one of their performers?

A: Never think it’s impossible or there are so many people better than me, there always is, but all we can do is try hard and be honest with ourselves.

Of course, you need strong skills, a positive attitude, being open and not afraid to try new things. If you enjoy what you do you’ll have no problem.

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

Q: You have recently moved to northern California. If you don’t mind, please share with us your future plans.

A: Yes, I was so excited to go to San Francisco, I love this city. Now we move to Sacramento we’ll be here for one more month, the plan is to perform, shoot some photos, explore the area.

Q: Where can people see your performance in 2020?

A: For now the plan is to go to Hong Kong until May 10, and after that, I’ll probably be freelancing and looking for new opportunities. Thank you very much!

CourtesyEvgeny Kurkin

I hope you find Evgeny’s photos just as fantastic as are his acrobatic skills in the “Amaluna”. His personal story is so inspiring and unique. We wish Evgeny the best in everything.

Evgeny’s Instagram: @cirqueev