"Toruk" set to take off at Talking Stick Resort Arena

- Cirque du Soleil is taking over Downtown Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Arena Wednesday, and taking the stage is a reinvention of the 2009 blockbuster film Avatar.

Colorful costumes and new music now make up the alien world portrayed in "Toruk - The First Flight", with the Na'vi leaving their home in Pandora for the stage.

"Toruk - The First Flight" is a prequel to Avatar, and the cast rehearsed for hours.

"They want to make sure that it feels right for them," said Laura Silverman with Cirque du Soleil. "They feel safe, they feel comfortable, and same for the technicians that work with them."

Silverman said "Toruk - The First Flight" is a mix of performance mediums.

"This apparatus we called 'Motorized Poles', so it's actually a unique apparatus created specifically for this show," said Silverman. "It's most similar to Chinese Poles, which is a more traditional circus act, but here, you can see they bend, and they swing, and they move."

Giant puppets portray mythical creatures, including the 240-pound Toruk, which is manipulated by six puppeteers. Lydia Harper performs numerous scenes, including one on a giant vertebrae.

"I'm one of the balancers, so we have this beautiful contortionist, she really is incredible, and I balance the structure so that she can perform on it," said Harper.

Before the big show, however, the performers have one final ritual.

"There's a group of about six of us," said Harper. "There's a beautiful song that our singer sings, and we sing along, and we find a harmony, and we all kind of go, 'aaahhhh' at the end. And then, we're ready!"

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