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Antonio Moore's Leadership, Antino Pansa's Talent Illuminate 'Cirque du Soleil Echo'

Cirque Du Soleil Echo

The brilliance and aerobatic creativity of Cirque du Soleil has returned to Atlanta. The largest contemporary circus producer brought its latest show, ECHO, to the Peach City, marking its first show since the pandemic.

ECHO tells the story of evolution and delves into the symbiotic connection between humans and animals while examining the symbiotic relationships that bind living things and the world they share together. The introduction of the show takes place with a specially designed cube onstage. With the combination of acrobatics, poetry, stage design, and technology the show depicts the connections that make life possible, helping the audience to see the world in not just black and white but in color, and draw inspiration from the optimism of youth.

Cirque Du Soleil Echo

We recently interviewed Antonio Moore, head coach of ECHO's acrobatics team, and Antino Pansa, one of ECHO's artists.

Before the Chicago-bred Moore joined Cirque du Soleil, he was a street tumbler and gymnast, as well as an acrobat in a circus. From Chicago, Moore relocated to California, which led to him touring before joining Cirque du Soleil in 2007. Moore decided to join Cirque du Soleil after his gymnastics career because he sensed a need for something more, and joining Cirque provided him with the opportunity to make a significant pivot.

"I was looking for something more exciting, different than what I was doing already. Competing in gymnastics was the norm, and was what everybody did. I wanted to perform, I wanted to be in front of people and I wanted to have fun,” Moore shared.

On the other hand, Pansa started his journey outside of America in Ghana, where circus-style performances were a fun pastime for himself and his friends. Eventually, he was approached by Cirque du Soleil and his response to joining was "why not." He had no template to guide him in seeing what a career in the circus would look like.

Cirque Du Soleil Echo

“So where I'm from, actually there is no circus... So when I go to work, and I realize I could come to school...I was like I got to try it out to see if I can go more,” Pansa said.

He attended the National Circus School in Montreal (École nationale de cirque), which is one of the only schools in the Americas to offer professional programs in circus arts and provide a higher education in circus arts. Pansa explained that circus studies were supplemented by studies in typical college courses such as (French) anatomy.

For Moore, the possibilities of a career in the circus were more clear. After working various jobs including UPS and Walgreens, he reflected on childhood memories of seeing the Ringling Bros. Circus in his hometown, which helped him to see that he could pursue the same path as Ringling Bros. performers.

Initially, Moore entered the circus as a performer. However, as is the case for anyone who remains in a career for an extended period, there comes a point when a transition becomes necessary.

Cirque Du Soleil Echo

“At some point, as you get older, your body starts to take a toll on you. I have two kids and trying to…. just flipping off stuff doesn't work too long,” Moore said. He expressed pride in his children, watching his 12-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter follow in his footsteps. Through them, he gets to relive moments from his younger years of practicing.

While many people traditionally associate circuses with the Ringling Bros. as the standard blueprint, the creative space has evolved over the years. Diverse representations, exemplified by shows like UniverSoul and Cirque du Soleil, have been incorporated into the circus experience.

“As far as diversity, [it] exists in every job you work in. The fun thing about our circus is that everybody you work with is from somewhere completely different. So they’re all experiencing something completely different, and they're learning about you, you're learning about them and the new environment you're working in on a daily basis. So that's kind of the beauty of the circus compared to any other job. You come in and you do your nine to five and you clock out. Here you come in and you got to get to know the person you're on stage with because your life may be in his hands and his life may be your hands, [so] you’re working together the entire time,” Moore shared.

Cirque Du Soleil Echo

Aside from a generalized opinion about diversity in the circus industry, Moore spoke specifically about diversity in the Echo show saying, “This show [Cirque du Soleil Echo] has more diversity than any other Cirque show that's ever existed. It's a nice gift on stage, honestly, and I'm in a box. The cube symbolizes the gift that's being presented to the audience.”

With all that takes place with the acrobatics and different forms of gymnastics in ECHO, the core theme of togetherness and understanding is the underlying message of it all.

“From my perspective, I think when you see the comradery, You see a bunch of people on stage in all shapes and colors, animals, humans in every aspect, but they're all working together for the same thing. So you'll see happiness, you'll see excitement, you'll see sadness, it's all there. So seeing the setup of the stage itself that comes to you, you feel more involved. So, I think from what I can see, people can honestly feel it when they watch it,” Moore said.

(L to R) Antonio Moore and Antino Pansa

Pansa wants the audience to feel the same experience that he felt when he first experienced a circus and wants people to talk about the show after leaving a performance.

Check out the full interview below.

Cirque du Soleil Echo premiered November 5 and will be inside the big blue tent in Atlantic Station until January 21. From the beautiful music to the death-defying stunts, this electrifying show is fun for all ages. Get your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil


The return of Cirque du Soleil to Atlanta with this new show, ECHO, seems like an event not to be missed. contexto


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Dec 01, 2023

The fundamental idea of unity and understanding underlies everything that happens in ECHO, including the acrobatics and many gymnastic disciplines.

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