Mind-bending star inspires
The most common question Geraldton resident and aerial contortionist Daniel Power recalls being asked during his three-year-stay in Las Vegas was whether he knew TV presenter Steve Irwin.
Performing 970 shows for Cirque du Soleil between 2004 and 2007, Power spent his early 20s earning a living in the US by suspending himself 30m in the air and flipping, swinging and spiralling with nothing but silk ropes to keep him from falling.
After learning dance at Kerry’s Batavia Coast Dance Centre as a child, the former Nagle Catholic College student said he was encouraged by his mentor Kerry Smith to complete a three-year Bachelor program at the National Institute of Circus Arts.
Ms Smith said she had taught Mr Power dance since he was six and she was very proud of his achievements.
“I’m just so proud of him — he’s very self-driven and very motivated, he’s always worked very hard,” she said. “He teaches at my studio now, helping the kids learn acrobatics.”
At 21, he joined Cirque du Soleil and spent the next few years performing the act Ka for audiences in one of the world’s best-known entertainment hubs.
Mr Power said his rise to stardom in Las Vegas was the most surreal experience.
“The high intensity of it was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “It was like a dream, it was so surreal.”
The acrobat said he had sustained a few injuries.
“I’ve had to have a shoulder surgery and I’ve chipped the same bone in both of my ankles,” he said.
“I click and creak like anything, I sound like a musical instrument in the mornings.”
Other noteworthy moments for the entertainer included doing a handstand on the edge of the Grand Canyon and listening to questions from curious Americans, such as: Do you know Steve Irwin? Are there koalas in the street? Do you ride the kangaroos?
After his stint in Vegas, Mr Power returned to Australia to teach aerial contortion at the institute, before freelancing at circus acts across the globe. During his travels, he won the Excellence Award for Creativity at the China International Circus Festival in 2012, a second-place position at a similar competition in Hong Kong for his aerial contortion performance in 2013, and was crowned Australia’s Leading Male Aerialist at the Australian Circus Festival in 2014.
Mr Power is now passing on his skills to a new generation of young circus performers at classes at Geraldton Police and Community Youth Centre.
He said apart from contortion, he enjoyed some other crowd favourites at the circus.
“Well, I love a good animal act,” he said. “But I’m not a fan of clowns.”
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