Cirque du Soleil’s Totem has roller-skating couple in a spin

Originally published through the Age

Cirque du Soleil performer Massimo Medini is spinning in a blur, the roller skates on his feet propelling him in a tight circle.

His wife’s ankles sit around his neck, her body stretched out in mid-air as they whirl atop a 1.8-metre wide drum. Her ankles are the only thing keeping her from flying off into the Cirque du Soleil’s signature big top.

All marriages require trust, but Massimo and his wife Denise Garcia-Sorta take it to a new level.

“You need to trust somebody – who better than your husband?” Garcia-Sorta laughs.

“Our number is about trust,” Medini adds. “You spin so fast, it’s always slippery, it’s easy to fall – it’s really dangerous. So she has to be 100 per cent sure of what I’m doing.

“We’re married, we work together, we spend 24 hours together, we have a daughter – so for us it’s not hard.”

The couple, who have been performing this routine since 1989, are bringing it to Melbourne as part of Cirque du Soleil’s latest show Totem.

Their acrobatic roller skating act portrays a Native Canadian couple before their wedding, fitting into Totem’s exploration of the evolution of mankind.

Other segments of the show include a troupe of Mongolian girls performing with metal bowls on top of 2 metre-high unicycles, and a Native American hoop dance.

For Garcia-Sorta and Medini, who both come from several generations of circus performers, the opportunity to participate in such a show comes once in a lifetime.

Totem is a grounding show, it’s a human show. The other shows for Cirque du Soleil are beautiful, magic … this one has a big soul,” Medini says.

“For a circus performer Cirque du Soleil is the best you can get.”

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