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Feature Stories on Performers in Las Vegas, Vol. 3 Mr. Shohei Shibata

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For over five years, Mr. Shohei Shibata has been performing acrobatics on “Michael Jackson ONE”, one of the fabulous resident shows produced by Cirque du Soleil, since he graduated from Aomori University in 2013.  Many acrobatic performers must have a dream to be on such stages in the world’s leading show business area, Las Vegas, which shows that he can realize such a dream as every acrobatic performer may dream. As a successful acrobatic performer, we had an interview with Shohei on his secret keys of his own and present feeling.

 


 

 

  • Profile
    Mr. Shohei Shibata is a successful acrobatic performer who excels in acrobatic feats, especially tumbling with hand implements through the experiences of rhythmic gymnastics mentioned below:He was born in Fukushima, Japan in 1989.  He started his career of rhythmic gymnastics when he was only 8 years old, and he won the individual all-around 3rd place at All Japan Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship in his junior high school days.  In his high school life, he made further achievements; that is, he won the individual all-around 1st place at the national high school’s athletic meet, the all-around title at the national athletic meet. Since he entered Aomori University, his great efforts had brought him the individual all-around 2nd place at All Japan Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship and other good achievements at various national competitions every year.  After graduation from the university in 2013, he joined Cirque du Soleil successfully and finished exclusive training at the headquarters in Montreal, Canada for about a half year.  Ever since, he has been performing on “Michael Jackson ONE” produced by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.As mentioned at the beginning, he is very good at handling instruments and tumbling which can be so-called “attractive weapon” for him.


 

 

 

“I can still do rhythmic gymnastics more!” – Growth and Further Potentiality made sure at my graduation of University

 

TDM:

How did you start performing on “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas?

 

Shohei:

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 07:  Artists perform during a sneak peek of メMichael Jackson ONEモ by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on May 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

While I put effort into rhythmic gymnastics at Aomori University, I thought that it would be difficult, taking my physical condition into consideration, to continue rhythmic gymnastics after graduating from university.  Therefore, I had already decided to get a job and after graduation because I was going to retire from rhythmic gymnastics in my senior year.  However, my physical condition and rhythmic gymnastics skills got better than ever when I became senior and finished my final competition.  “I can still do rhythmic gymnastics more!” I felt my growth and further potentiality on acrobatics at that time, but frankly speaking, I could not have any concrete plan as the next step.  On those days, just while I was looking for my new goal, I could pass the audition for “Michael Jackson ONE” timely.

 

▲ ”Michael Jackson ONE” Trailer

 

 

To perform my role and mission to keep the excellent quality of “Michael Jackson ONE”

 

TDM:

Have you had a hard time in the beginning of your new life in Las Vegas?

 

 

Shohei:

I had continued making effort for “rhythmic gymnastics to win at any competition” in Japan.After joining Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil I felt much difficulty to cope with any“artistic and high quality”instruction and/or request made by choreographer, during my beginning days, by which I changed my consciousness and sense upon acrobatic performances.

 

 

TDM:

It has been five years since then, and now you are very successful as a performer.  What do you feel about it?

 

Shohei:

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I have performed in the same act, but the direction and the members of performance might have been changed little by little.  It gives me continuous fresh feeling for these five years.  I am really enjoying my work because I must execute my role in the act and mission to keep the excellent quality of “Michael Jackson ONE”.  The main reason why I could continue the program for over five years is that this fascinating world makes me feel truly happy.  As I perform in the same act many times, I am trying to keep up my motivation every time.

 

TDM:

How do you think about Las Vegas in terms of an entertainment city?

 

Shohei:

I think Las Vegas is the entertainment city where many people can enjoy regardless of age or gender.  As for the daily life of performers, not only they can concentrate on their performances, but also they have enough free time to do whatever they like.

 

 

Comfortable place where we can concentrate on acrobatics

 

TDM:

Do you have any troubles when you are living in Las Vegas?

 

Shohei:

In my own life, it was hard to get used to the different weather conditions from Japan.

As a performer, it is sometimes not so easy to keep my motivation satisfactorily.  I am trying not to become deflated when I cannot do some acrobatics that I want to perform.  In such cases, all I have to do is just to practice, and after I acquire skills to do, my motivation will be gradually increased.  Since acrobats and dancers are properly divided in Cirque du Soleil, we can completely concentrate on acrobatics and challenge new feats without worrying about anything.  I think there is no other places quite like this.

 

TDM:

What is your favorite program in Las Vegas?

 

Shohei:

I like “Mystere” produced by Cirque du Soleil.  “Mystere” features traditional circus skills and a lot of acrobatics.

 

 

▲“Mystere” Trailer

 

 

TDM:

What is the attraction of acrobatics?

 

Shohei:

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In terms of acrobatics among many kinds of body-expressions, my theory is that even tumbling without any other special movement can be regarded as an expression.  Many people are delighted by simply looking at tumbling in the air.  I think that doing acrobatic feats is an attractive channel of expressions.  Further, my acrobatic feats using hand implements acquired by rhythmic gymnastics can be my advantage and impress a lot of people who are unfamiliar with it in Las Vegas.

 

 

Enjoy the various points of view produced by Cirque du Soleil exclusively

 

TDM:

What is the feature of Cirque du Soleil?

 

Shohei:

I have a lot of opportunities to watch various shows produced by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.  In my opinion, the show of Cirque du Soleil can be enjoyed from several points of view.  Not only the center of a stage, but also a variety of performances can be seen at different points at the same time.  Since it is difficult to see all performances at the same time and the audiences have different points of view depending on their seats, they can keep finding new things and surprises while coming several times.  That’s why I like all shows of Cirque du Soleil which can give the audience never-ending satisfaction.

 

TDM:

Finally, what do you think the attraction of “Michael Jackson ONE” is?

 

Shohei:

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 07:  Artists perform during a sneak peek of メMichael Jackson ONEモ by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on May 7, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

The attraction is that “Michael Jackson ONE” is made as one definite story from the beginning to the end.  My favorite program is trampoline because I love acrobatics.  People who have not seen this show yet often think that we perform acrobatics mixed with the original choreographed dance of Michael Jackson.  Although it can be seen in some other acts, I never move like Michael Jackson in my performance.  Here is a new point of view for Michael Jackson produced by Cirque du Soleil exclusively, and you will see and enjoy how we perform on “Michael Jackson ONE” as acrobats

 

TDM:

Thank you so much for today.

 

interview & photo by AKIKO
edit by imu

’18/05/14 UPDATE

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