After inline skating was cut from the X-Games in 2005, vert skaters Cesar Andrade and Marco de Santi were forced to find a new way to profit from their talents. Enter Cirque du Soleil, who in 2000 began looking for skaters in Andrade and de Santi's native Brazil to cast a new show inspired by the music of The Beatles entitled Love.
"They said, probably in five years, we'll call you guys," de Santi says. "And in 2005, they called."
Love, now being performed at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas, is the first Cirque show to feature inline skaters. Clad in black-and-white referee stripes and feathered boots, Andrade, de Santi and two other skaters work back-to-back quarter pipes to the sounds of "Help!" Their skill is obvious; the ramp is 11-feet high, but just six-feet wide. Only the world's best skaters could navigate a ramp so narrow, and even so, accidents still happen. During the 7 PM show on Saturday night, Andrade fell and hit his side against the edge of the ramp. He watched the 10 PM show from the stands.
"Fabiola da Sivla, Taig Kris, the Yasutoko brothers, they are making their living in other ways," Andrade says, running through a list of who's who in the world of vert. "Besides them, not a lot of people could come here and do what we do."
And it's not just skating. Under their photos in Love's program, "acrobat" is also listed. In two shows a day, 10 shows a week and 40 shows a month, de Santi and Andrade perform stunts on the trampoline, free run and bungee across the stage on latex cords suspended from the ceiling.
"I came to Cirque because everything with inline was falling apart," de Santi says. "I was looking for a chance to do something different, break my shyness and be an artist." Now, other acrobats are incorporating grabs the skaters do in the quarter pipe into their routines on the trampoline.
"Revolutionary," Andrade says. "Like The Beatles."