Friday morning I decided it was time to go talk to representatives from Cirque du Soleil in person. I had a lot of questions for them since the session titled, “Automation at Cirque du Soleil” only taught me that safety is the number one concern at any Cirque production.

Naturally when I went to speak with the person who knew the most about automation he was no where to be found. Therefore I went to talk to any of the other companies who were involved in automation.

During my wanderings I discovered:

  1. Daktronics (A Company which is involved in Automated Rigging)
  • Are located in Victor, NY which is about an hour from UB
  • Have a new “outsourced German system” which controls automated batons and can do many functions at the same time. If UB decided to buy this $100,000 system we would be the first to own this system. At $100,000 this thing is a steal!
  • They also have a $20, 000 system that has presets which work similar to sub masters on a lightng board
  • This system could bring one or all of your electrics down at once (and at variable speeds)-How Convenient!
  • You could also make a snow bag make snow fall and at the same time raise one drop and lower another.
  • And it’s touch screen…..


Totem was basically the evolution of man from start to finish shown through the medium of live spectacle. The show was everything the representatives of Cirque promised and more. The show included aerial acrobatics, insane trapeze work, phenomenal unicycle skills, and a story which brought it all together. Set changes used state of the art automation which allowed for smooth scene changes that did not hold up the production in any way. Ever time a new scene began you would say to yourself ” that’s cool but it would be cooler if you did something more insane” but then the acrobats would do something even cooler than you could imagine. My only regret is that I couldn’t see the show twice or go backstage.