(Photo: Ken Abrams)

Cirque du Soleil is known for creating a spectacle. The Montreal-based theater company has presented groundbreaking performances for over 180 million fans since 1984. They’ve produced over 40 different shows in over 450 cities in 60 countries.

One of those spectacles, “Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL,” is making a stop in Providence this weekend with performances running from July 7-10. We were there for a backstage look at a pre-show rehearsal Thursday afternoon.

Cirque officials told us they rehearse for “technical validation” as they play in different venues every week. “We want to make sure the artists feel comfortable and feel safe doing all the crazy things that they do. Our technical staff also needs to be well versed in how the arena works.”

 CRYSTAL combines word-class skating, aerial acrobatics and a rich soundtrack of original music and contemporary hits. Songs include Beyonce’s “Halo” and U2’s “Beautiful Day.” It’s a family show, and unlike other Cirque performances, it is fully narrated.

The cast includes professional gymnasts, acrobatics, and former Olympic skaters. Over one hundred people travel on the tour, with about half performing in the show. They even bring their own chef.

Created by Shana Carroll and Sebastien Soldevila, the all-ages show is described as “an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as young Crystal dives into a world of her own imagination.” Performances run from July 7-10. Tickets are available here.

We’re sharing some exclusive photos of the artists rehearsing scenes below.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.