This gig was a real turning point in my life.
I was working in the Indiana University Biology department doing network administration while I finished my computer science graduate studies. I had completed all of the course work for my PhD., and was beginning to explore research possibilities (robotics looked promising) when I fielded an online job posting for Cirque du Soleil.
I had heard of this small Canadian circus before, but was never really 'into' circus much, so didn't really feel interested in the offer until I found out what the actual project involved. It turns out that they needed someone to come and work with Michael Moschen on a new act for the circus' first stationary show to be opened in Las Vegas. To me at the time, Michael Moschen was like the Howard Hugues of the juggling world - a reclusive genius that the rest of us could only marvel at. The opportunity to work with such a powerhouse of art and creativity was too much to pass up.
When I initially read the job posting, I felt that they were describing me. There was a height requirement, the need to have had dance and martial arts training, ball juggling skills, original techniques, etc. I remember really struggling with the decision to answer the submission because I knew if I did I was going to get it.
"Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it - and then you'll be really screwed."
I did get the job, and was signed for a six month contract. I really should have read the details more carefully, because there was a clause extending my contract another six months at the circus' discretion. Then, after that, there was another year extension, and after THAT another...
What started out as a six month gig turned into six YEARS between Mystere and Quidam. Granted, I was more than happy to stay on and to have my contracts with Cirque du Soleil regularly renewed, but running away with the circus meant having to leave hopes of finishing my doctorate degree behind.
In retrospect, good riddance! I'll take wearing lipstick and dancing topless in a Las Vegas show to sitting behind a computer workstation in a basement lab any day!.