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Behind the scenes: The lights, costumes and acrobats of Cirque du Soleil make grand return to Austin area for first time since pandemic

Cirque du Soleil is returning with its insect-themed show OVO. (Cirque du Soleil)

Coming back for the first time after an 18-month pandemic-induced hiatus, Cirque du Soleil is bringing its insect-inspired show OVO back to the Cedar Park H-E-B Center in just over a week.

The show, which gives the audience a peek into the intricate world of insects, will run from Feb. 23-27 and is appropriate for all ages to appreciate. Expect unique backdrops, plotlines and dances from the amazing ants, flexible dragonfly, crazy crickets and silky spiders.

Svetlana Delous, a Canadian performer who plays the red spider and cocoon in the show, told Austonia she knew she wanted to become an acrobatic dancer after she saw her first Cirque du Soleil show as a child.

“I saw the show, which combined dance, acrobatics, music, lights, costumes, everything live all at once and I had never seen anything like it,” Delous said. “My parents thought you had to grow up in a circus family or something like that, so I thought I missed out. I went through a lot of dance training and thankfully that really helped translate over to circus training when I later found my way into the community.”

Delous has now been working in the circus industry as a dancer, choreographer and stage manager for 15 years and has been performing as part of OVO since 2017.

While she’s onstage, you’ll see Delous donning a bright red spider costume with a black hourglass on her back, like a reversed black widow, as she climbs up and down the backdrop, does some silk dancing and a bit of voice acting as well.

Delous will do some silks dancing, meant to simulate her web, during the show. (Cirque du Soleil)

“The red spider is a really fun character—she's a little mischievous, curious and you never really know what's coming next,” Delous said. “She's such a fun character to play. I’m all over the place starting the show, just crawling around and looking at the audience being mischievous.”

Delous said the performers go through extensive five-to-six-week training at Cirque headquarters and do all of their own makeup for the show. Her striking makeup will also set her apart, which she said takes her about 45 minutes to put on before each performance.

“(During training), the professionals do half of her face and then we copy on the other side,” Delous said. “We also have different shoes depending on what we're doing on stage at the next cue so we need to make sure that all of our stuff is lined up for the next part of the show.”

Delous said at the end of the day, she hopes to inspire the kids in the audience like the show did for her as a child.

“I'm on stage because of that feeling I had as a kid, watching the show and absolutely being mesmerized and inspired by the acrobats that are standing in front of me,” Delous said. “The whole experience was so profoundly moving to me that it was unforgettable. That's why a lot of us are on stage is to really transport the audience to a place where they're moved, inspired and just in awe of the creativity that humankind can come together and create for a special hour and a half.”

OVO will hold several shows per day during its five-day stint here, with tickets starting at $49 each, plus options for families and producer seats.


With deposition and trial looming, Elon Musk has offered $44B for Twitter, again

Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.

The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.

The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.

While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.

The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.

After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.

With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.

He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.

Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.

Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.

Austin rents nearly double in a year and are now in the top 5 nationwide

While searching for a place to live, Austin renters will face monthly rates of nearly $3,000, a recent guide from rental marketplace Dwellsy shows.

The median rent in August this year was $2,930, a more than 86% increase since August 2021. That’s $820 more than the nationwide median asking rent in August and puts Austin just below the Bay Area, Boston and New York for large cities with the most expensive asking rent.

“Within this group, Austin, TX stands out for the highest increases in asking rent, which has nearly doubled since this time last year,” the study notes.

Outside of those large cities, however, others are seeing even higher rent spikes. Metro areas that ranked above Austin in one-year increases include those like Kansas City, MO with a 112% change in rent since last August and Tucson, AZ with a 124% change.

The data reflects large apartment communities, single-family homes and 2-6 unit buildings.