Cirque du Soleil's signature acrobatics, lavish costumes and elaborate sets transform the Columbus Civic Center into a young girl's imaginary world when "Quidam" begins its four-performance run Saturday.
"It's a great thing that 'Quidam' is the very first show from Cirque du Soliel to come to town because it's a classic Cirque production," publicist Jessica LaBeouf said. "Basically, a little girl called Zoe goes into this world to escape her boring reality and the fact that her parents are not paying much attention to her."
The 2-hour, family-friendly show is recommended for ages 5 and older.
"There's so many different layers to the story line and also to the action happening on stage," LaBeouf said. "Kids notice different things than their parents."
Jump rope artist Adrienn Banhegyi said the 52-member cast of acrobats, musicians, singers and characters work hard to make sure each performance is entertaining and as close to perfect as possible.
"Everyone who is part of the group is at the top of his or her discipline... It gives a very high value to the performances," Banhegyi said.
The German born performer won both World and European Jump Rope Championships before she joined the "Quidam" cast in 2011.
While training for the show in Montreal, Banhegyi realized that nearly two decades of competitive jump roping hadn't taught her an important Cirque du Soleil skill -- acting.
"When you perform on the stage, it's a whole different thing. You have to be a good actor to keep the audience's attention," she said.
Besides learning how to play a character, Banhegyi had to perfect complicated choreography and learn to do her character's elaborate makeup.
"At the beginning it took two hours for makeup," she said. She now completes her character's look in one hour.
"Quidam," which had its world premiere in 1996, finishes its U.S. tour in August and then heads to Europe where it will remain for about two years.
Banhegyi welcomes the traveling. Every week the cast and 30-member crew set up in a new city. They usually have two free days to be tourists.
"We have the chance to visit new cities and explore local, delicious food and local sights," she said.
The show is on the road for 10 weeks and then takes a two-week break where cast and crew members can travel home to visit their families.
Though a large group, Banhegyi said the cast, which represents 20 different countries, is close.
"You have the chance to learn plenty of languages and to learn about different cultures and work with very interesting people from all different backgrounds," she said.