Changes for Arnaud
Arnaud Bertrand, who plays the Green Lizard in Mystère, faced a big change after returning mid-January from Cirque’s winter break. Sidsel Dupont, who played Arnaud’s counterpart, the Female Lizard, left the show January 2. Spending much of their onstage time together, the two dancers had become close friends. “I will miss our inside jokes and her sense of humor that she carries on as well as offstage,” Arnaud says of Sidsel.
The relationship between the two lizards is very intense, says Sidsel, and is magnified onstage, whether good or bad. She and Arnaud’s predecessor had a rocky relationship, which often affected their performance. “When Arnaud arrived [in December 2003], it was like a breath of fresh air,” Sidsel says.
Because Arnaud trained in gymnastics and modern dance in France and Sidsel has an American jazz background, they “were able to meet each other in the middle artistically,” Sidsel says. “His improv skills were much stronger than mine, but I welcomed the challenge.”
The new Female Lizard is played by Sophia Lorador, a fellow Mystère cast member and Sidsel’s understudy. Previously, Sophia performed in the show’s aerial bungee troupe, which requires swinging and flipping on a trapeze and in a bungee harness suspended from the ceiling. “She has been the back-up [for Sidsel], so I am excited for her to be that role,” Arnaud says, adding that their common gymnastics background will continue to complement each other onstage.
Lindsay Closes Shop
After nearly three months as a Rockette, Lindsay Howe said farewell to Radio City for another year as the show wrapped up its holiday season. “It was really sad saying goodbye to everyone,” says Lindsay, “But [the season] went really well.”
On Christmas Day, Lindsay performed two shows. “The energy was so much fun. We are part of a Christmas tradition for a lot of people,” she says. “Plus it meant more to me, because my family came all the way from California, and it’s a once a year thing for them.” In between performances on Christmas, the entire cast—roughly 200 members total—attended a special dinner and exchanged secret Santa gifts.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the show to Lindsay is the number of costume changes. “Once the show starts, it flies,” she says. Lindsay has five changes, with as little as 90 seconds between some numbers. “Most of the changes are fast. We never go back to our dressing room to change or make sure our lipstick is on.” Instead, the girls make use of designated quick change areas near the stage.
All of the dancers’ fast changes are choreographed, since not everyone changes in the same place between each number. Backstage assistants called dressers are responsible for helping the dancers change costumes, hairpieces, shoes and touch up makeup. They also handle last-minute disasters, such as mending ripped costumes.
“[Dressers are] such great multitaskers,” says Lindsay. “They make sure we’re set and haven’t forgotten anything. They take care of everything. If something breaks, they are right there to fix it or sew it up.” For instance, when the rubber partially came off of Lindsay’s shoe just before she had to go on, a dresser was right there to rubber cement the shoe back together in time for her entrance.
Practice run-throughs help everyone work out kinks. In the course of a single show, Lindsay has five different dressers, plus an electrician who makes sure her antler hat is plugged in before the Reindeer dance. (A cord runs from her hat and through her jacket and plugs into a battery pack in her sleeve, allowing the antlers to light up.)
What’s next for Lindsay? She will be heading back home to California to coach a baton team through June, then hopes to return to NYC.