My life as an acrobat: Interview with Olívia Kapitány

As an acrobat, there are certain risks that everyone needs to take into consideration before taking a leap on this journey. It requires a great deal of commitment, time, and hours and hours of practice. The work behind preparing yourself mentally and physically is without a doubt challenging and not an easy path.

Former Acrobat at Dragone’s ‘The House of Dancing Water’ and Artist on cue member Olívia Kapitány is one of those individuals, constantly looking for a challenge and not afraid to learn new dangerous skills as part of her job description. Her passion for this industry, remarkable technical abilities, and relentless determination to achieve her goals make her #1 on the casting list of many companies looking for professional acrobats.

“To be a professional aerialist takes strength and mobility but also a level of confidence in your ability to engage and connect with an audience while performing difficult feats.” – Olívia Kapitány.

Below she’s giving us an exclusive interview for Artist on cue platform for aspiring artists looking to get into this field.

Who inspired you, and what made you follow your field in the first place?

Before I became an acrobat, aerialist, artist, I was an elite Gymnast for 10 years.

I could say It was fate for me to become an acrobat and I will tell you why. One teacher from an acrobatic school met with my mother at one of my Gymnastics competitions and this teacher said whenever I finish Gymnastics, we can reach out to her.

Not long after I finished Gymnastics and found myself not knowing what sport I should do, as I was in a Sports school, and it was mandatory to do any type of sport.

Accidentally my mother met with this teacher again and I came up in the conversation. Luckily in that week, the Acrobat school did a casting, but on that week Friday, I would have traveled away for a holiday with my family. Getting ready to travel in 2 days, we just realized my passport was valid for 3 months and the requirement was 6 months for me to travel. I remember we’ve tried many ways to get that passport, but not possible. I decided to go for that casting and straight away I felt this is what I want to do. They choose me and put me into a cradle and banquine act.

You’ve mentioned that you were an elite gymnast for 10 years before becoming an acrobat. How did you get into gymnastics? Was it something that you enjoy doing as a little girl with guidance from your parents? Some Artists step into this field by chance or guided by parents, but once growing up, they realize that is not what they wanted. Would that be your case?

When I was a little girl, I was very active climbing everywhere (trees, walls)

So, Gymnastics was the best choice for me to get that energy out of my system and I would fall to bed at night. :D. The coaches on the first training said to me to stand up on a wooden vaulting box and they said “that’s how a Gymnast looks like”. From climbing I had a lot of strength, I could do a pullover already on my first training, etc, they just showed me and then I did it. After a few weeks, they would move me to the competitive group.

My parents would never push anything where they could see I’m not happy, they did every time what is the best for me. They put me in Gymnastics and I choose to do it. I have 3 siblings and they found themself in other activities and tried different sports. I didn’t finish this sport because I didn’t love it, was other reasons and it was a very hard decision to make.

What skills are you most proficient in? Any achievements/awards?

Cradle, Duo Trapeze, Silk, Hand to Hand




Prix De La Revue Du Cirque Dans L’Univers Special Prize

Where have you performed?

Macau, Japan, Spain, Monaco, Netherlands, France (tours), Germany, Sweden, Hungary

What has been the best performance of your career so far?

What I’m the proudest of is The House of Dancing Water. In this show I was not just learning the show, I needed to master other skills, which I have never done before like diving.

It was a very unique show to perform daily.

What was your experience learning a new skill such as diving in ‘The House of Dancing Water’? Was it difficult? Overwhelming?

I loved learning new skills in The House of Dancing Water. I felt safe at all times, we had amazing coaches during the formation and they were showing the way where we need to go.

According to you, what are the essential qualities that make a good aerialist?

To be a professional aerialist takes strength and mobility but also a level of confidence in your ability to engage and connect with an audience while performing difficult feats.

How are you surviving the current pandemic?

I think I managed the best way I could. I developed myself in different ways, experiencing new cultures, traveling to a new place, and getting new energy, inspirations, ideas for my future. I have to be ready in any way not to be affected by another shutdown.

You’ve mentioned, “I have to be ready in any way not to be affected by another shutdown.” How do you cope with rejections when looking for a particular job?

I didn’t have rejections, normally the opportunity finds me and they asked me to join the company, group.

What does a typical day look like for you, especially in these times?

During this period, I was focusing a lot on my other passions – photography and scuba diving and had the opportunity to start my Divemaster course.

In the mornings I would go on a diving tour (two dives a day) after that I would go teach Gymnastics. After gymnastics classes, I would do my training to keep myself in shape and after that, I would create content for the Gymnastics Club.

Now that you’ve discovered you have other passions, like photography or scuba diving, would you rather follow any of them professionally instead of gymnastics or acrobatics? Any regrets?

I don’t have any regrets; everyone needs a hobby. Gymnastics started as a hobby then it became my profession. Acrobatics started as a hobby and then it became my profession. I’m currently on my way to pursuing photography and scuba diving professionally. I’m thinking forward to the future because I can’t be an acrobat forever.

Any struggles in your career path, and how did you overcome them?

Injuries are every artist’s nightmare, I could say. I wouldn’t say it was a struggle, it was a learning process and always prepared for any sudden changes in my life. I’ve learned not to rush things, take my time and recover 100%, do things step by step, and take advantage of the time that I can use for something else.

Would you say warming up and safety precautions before training/rehearsals/show are the #1 things to do in order to avoid injuries? What would be your #1 thing based on your experience, artists should always consider doing before training/rehearsals/shows in order to avoid injuries?

Yes, I could say that’s the first step to avoiding injuries. I would not forget the technical improvements, because if you are not practicing harder elements what is not in your show/act you are going to get lazier and start burning out doing every day the same thing.

  • Working on your weakest points can also help avoid a lot of injuries.
  • I have my warm-up, stretching, strength routine what I do almost every day. Throughout the years and with different workshops, the routine became more effective and help to my development.
  • Creating healthy habits (food, water intake).
  • Creating a schedule for yourself and giving yourself a treat. If you are treating yourself well physically and mentally it will help a lot not to get injured.

What are the main aspects you look for when considering taking a new project? Is it always the challenge that drives you or the company’s popularity/salary?

I’m choosing a project where I can grow and learn to get into other fields that I’m interested in. I consider proposals where I’m compensated appropriately for my skills and experience.

Is there a company that you particularly want to work for?

I love Dragone and Cirque du Soleil shows but any interesting project that would give me a new experience I would be glad to join.

How do you handle frequent travels and being away from home for long periods?

You can find a way every time you travel even in the worst situations. At the worst time of the pandemic, I needed to leave Macau to Bermuda. It was a bit longer flights and paperwork but I arrived healthily. It’s not the first time I’m away longer from my home country. These days with video calls it’s easier to keep in touch with our loved ones.

What is your mission as a professional aerialist?

I love to inspire and create not just as an aerialist but as a person as well. Travel the world, get to know cultures, lifestyles.

We recently had an article called “Should the performing arts have an age limit?” written by one of our Artist on cue Authors – Evelyn de Vos, explaining how hard it is to get a certain role after the age of 40. You can find it here – Many Artists are facing the same issue. What is your point of view on the matter and is this something that worries you?

I’m not worried about my future, of course, there is an age limit but it really depends on a lot of factors in which area that person is working.

You need to adapt to anything coming your way. If someone is doing the same thing for many years and doesn’t improve then those people yes, are going to have some problems. There are tons of opportunities, you just need to see them.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Artists?

Do every week a small goal, learn languages and learn the culture, build relationships, surround yourself with inspiring people.

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