Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 5:57 p.m.
As Robin Leach settles into a northern Italian lake district lifestyle before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus Lake Como and Lake Maggiore this year — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with the death-defying trapeze acrobat Cadence Alexia of Duo Fevrier in “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace.
Aerial Cradle is an old-school circus discipline; it’s pretty rare these days. You may have seen it in a circus show at some point in your life, but unless you work in the circus, you probably didn’t know that it was called that.
It’s a fixed metal frame with two small platforms on either side. The catcher hangs upside down from the framework, and the flyer swings from the catcher, wrist to wrist, the same way you would swing from a trapeze.
We perform 15 feet above the audience; we can’t make out faces at first, just outlines of people. I love when a fluorescent shirt stands out and catches my eye. We get to see faces when our lights change, wide eyes and open mouths. I’m too focused on technique to hear them when I'm swinging, but I always sense their vibe and how amazed they are with what they see.
There’s always a first time to watch one girl throw another girl that high in the air and catch her again. The reactions from the crowd remind us that what we’re doing is ridiculous and amazing at the same time.
The best days are when our bodies are strong and our minds are relaxed, technique comes easy and swings are effortless. If we do everything exactly how we practiced, our tricks are high, clean and easy. It takes years of training and repetition to achieve, and we’re always pushing to improve our level and learn new tricks for our act.
The thing is, we’re not machines. However we feel, good or bad, we make our act 10 times per week; we’ve performed the routine nearly 500 times now.
Best days can’t happen every day. Some days I don’t even want to go up there in the first place. I’m tired and grumpy, and I’d rather be curled up like a cat in my chalk box wearing a big frown and refusing to budge, but instead I’m chalking my hands and feet in preparation.
Across the other side of the tent, Linde, my catcher, also is preparing to perform. In these three minutes of preparation time, our minds can really mess with us. We’ve learned different ways to push away any doubt and perform with commitment and confidence.
On days when our muscles are sore and our minds are tired, it’s much harder to push away doubt, even harder than physically getting through the act. Our jobs onstage are very different. I take the risk and she takes the responsibility; that’s how it goes.
I trust her to do whatever it takes, to be there no matter what happens and to not let me fall down. Once I kicked her in the face with both feet during a somersault, and she took the hit and stayed there for the catch. She’ll always do her job, no matter what, even on the days when it hurts.
On the harder days, it’s always the same: We go up, the music starts, the fear and nagging vanishes, and everything is suddenly right with the world. Muscle memory kicks in, and the act just happens. We enjoy it, and we know our technique well enough to make it work.
All the audience wants from us is six minutes — a six-minute display of all our years of training. Six minutes for us to have a good time and enjoy what we do. And the audience can sit with their eyes and mouths wide open and see something amazing you don’t see every day.
Check out our other “Absinthe” guest columns today from burlesque beauty Melody Sweets and death-defying high-wire performer Almas Meirmanov of The Frat Pack. On Thursday, comedian George Wallace has us laughing, and we have a producer’s behind-the-scenes peekaboo of “Sydney After Dark” from the land Down Under at Planet Hollywood.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.