Cirque du Soleil's death-defying high-fliers

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    The art of flight, circus style


The art of flight, circus style 02:27

Story highlights

  • Cirque du Soleil coach Miguel Vargas began performing trapeze at the age of 7
  • He says there are many dangers for trapeze artists

(CNN)Cirque du Soleil performers seemingly defy physics as they fly effortlessly through the air -- but what you don't see is the blood, sweat and tears that go into training.

Their brilliantly choreographed routines come with a risk, and it's their coaches that make all the difference.
    Flying trapeze artist Zane Frazer performs in the "La Nouba" show and says she became a Cirque performer because she loves the feeling of flying.
    "One of the best things about what we do is when we get to see people who have just watched the show," she told CNN. "To see the joy that a show like this brings the audience is really rewarding."
    But Frazer admits the stunts she performs at the opulent show are dangerous, and says it's important to know that someone is looking out for her. That someone is Cirque du Soleil coach Miguel Vargas. Vargas is a fifth-generation circus performer and took up trapeze at the age of 7.
    "I see a lot of dangers [while they perform stunts]," he says. "It would be a long list to go over what could possibly go wrong."
    Frazer says: "He [Vargas] understands when we as fliers are going through a bit of mental block, [when] we're nervous, [and when] we're trying something new."
    But at the end of the day, Vargas says, it's all about the Cirque performers having trust; in both themselves and their training. "They've done the repetitions and have the muscle memory," he says. So all that's left is the courage to let go and swing into the arms of their fellow fliers.
    With an international cast of 65 artists, "La Nouba," which shows at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, has been running since 1998 and has been watched by more than 10 million people.
    Vargas says it's gratifying to see their hard work pay off. "They all want to succeed and we all want to succeed as a team."