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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Champion gymnast takes a leap into the unknown with Cirque du Soliel

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

WHEN UK performer Jonny Stranks first joined the cast of Quidam in 2013, he found himself part of an act where ­nobody spoke English.

The former world champion acrobatic gymnast and winner of Britain’s Got Talent was selected to join the Banquine section of the Cirque du Soleil production which featured only performers from Russia and Ukraine.

“I wasn’t really too confident with that because I wasn’t sure how it was going to be ­because if they don’t speak any English it’s going to be difficult to work with them,” Stranks told the Mercury.

“So I took the risk and it paid off.

“It’s been great, the guys are really nice and now, a few of them, their English is really good so there hasn’t been too many communication issues. It’s been really smooth.”

Banquine originate sees 15 artists performing acrobatics and human pyramids.

“Two of the people get thrown into the air and have to do somersaults in the air, flying over each other and then balance on top of the pyramid,” Stranks said.

“It’s just acrobatic, crazy acrobatics.”


Jonny Stranks performs in the Banquine section of the Cirque du Soleil production of Quidam. Picture: ALEXANDER PESTOV

Stranks said working with the show and getting to travel the world was an amazing ­experience and said he had ­always aimed to be part of the cast.

“I actually saw Quidam in 2009 at the Royal Albert Hall and was inspired by the show,” he said.

“I saw the Banquine act and I was so certain that I wanted to do it.

“I just kept on training and I won multiple competitions and from then I thought I probably wouldn’t be able to do it and that I wouldn’t be ­selected.

“I forwarded my application and I got lucky.”

Quidam by Cirque du Soleil runs at the Derwent Entertainment Centre from January 6-10. Tickets via

This article was originally written for The Mercury. You can read the published version here

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