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Mar 16, 2016

There are two cinematic sequels in production to the No. 1 box-office film of all time, Avatar. An Avatar-based theme park is also coming to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in 2017. But what if you can’t wait that long to return to the land of the blue-skinned Na’vi? Even better, what if I told you that you could see the Na’vi live and in the flesh – in your own city?

HELEN DAY podcast excerpt: "Puppets are very important to the Avatar show, from early on right to the end. The planet of Pandora is full of creatures, flora and fauna that interact with the Na'vi. And the puppets are very big!"

Cirque du Soleil, the insanely acrobatic circus that travels from city to city with its own big top, is touring this year an all-new production spun off from Avatar called “Toruk: The First Flight.”

Joining me to talk about the new show are two of its star performers, acrobat Dustin Walston and puppeteer Helen Day.

DUSTIN WALSTON podcast excerpt: "There is a progression to learning the acrobatic movements in a Cirque du Soleil show; it's not like we try the most daring things on the first try. In that sense, it's safe and you have confidence in executing it. Cirque makes sure it's very safe and the risks are minimized as much as possible."

If you’ve never been to a Cirque du Soleil production, it is a mind-bending event that melds extraordinary human gymnastics, beautiful music and stunning light shows. In addition to the touring shows, there are also permanent Cirque Du Soleil installations from Orlando to Las Vegas and beyond. (Helen Day, incidentally, plays the role of Miss Edwards in the Tim Burton film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.)

Key interview moments:

• 3:10 Puppeteer Helen Day describes the scope of the enormous puppets deployed in Cirque's new "Toruk: The First Flight" program;

• 7:50 Acrobat Dustin Walston explains how Cirque du Soleil minimizes risks to performers.

Cirque du Soleil WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTube

Helen Day Website • Equity • IMDB

Dustin Walston FacebookLinkedInIMDB