Quidam artists Donna Stevens and Philippa Hayball provide a glimpse into the life of a Cirque du Soleil performer. What act/character are you performing? Donna Stevens I perform a solo aerial act called Cloud Swing. It's essentially a nine-metre rope hung at two points just like a swing. The main challenge is to keep the swing going whilst manoeuvring acrobatic movements. Philippa Hayball I play one of the lead characters, Target. She is a happy, confident and friendly character who likes to play with the people around her. Target is the best friend of the young girl in the show (Zoe). Is this your first CDS show? DS Yes, Quidam is the only Cirque du Soleil production I have performed in. I worked with a trainer for four months in Montreal and then, when I was ready, I joined the tour. PH No, before joining Quidam I was in the Cirque resident show Mystere in Las Vegas. As a performer, the main difference between the two experiences is that in the first show I was an animal and danced a lot more, whereas Target is more of a character role, connecting with the audience through expression rather than movement. What circus skills do you have and where did you learn them? DS I can do tissue (aerial contortion in silk), Spanish web, German wheel, and tightrope and I also know a handstand number that I learnt when I was in the Flying Fruit Fly Circus. All of these skills I have picked up along the way, working with talented colleagues. PH My background is dance, but I do have some circus skills. I can tumble, which I learnt in Mystere, and I also do an aerial number (aerial hoops) which I learnt on the Quidam tour. How much practice do you need? DS Now that I know the act, I train on the swing for an hour a week, in addition to the eight shows. I add another three hours of cardio training (running or swimming) to that a week. PH I work on my physical fitness every day and practise aerials about twice a week in addition to performing eight shows a week. How long do you want to keep performing? DS For another four years, I think. After my performing career is over I would like to be a volunteer in Africa working with animals. PH Probably until the end of 2006, and then I would like to work as an artistic co-ordinator with artists. Eventually I want to have my own line of children's clothing. It is rare to be able to lick your own elbow? Can you? DS No, I can't, but one of the Banquine artists in Quidam can nearly do it. PH I'm not sure why I would want to. You have both been to Hong Kong before. What are you looking forward to doing while you are here? DS I'm really looking forward to returning to the hustle and bustle again and revisiting the outlying islands, which I loved last time. PH Last time I was here was before 1997, so am very interested to see how much it has changed. I am also looking forward to exploring Hong Kong and particularly want to return to Po Toi Island. Why do you think people in Hong Kong should go to see Quidam? DS It's a show that's complete with amazing acrobatics and entertainment for everyone. Not only is it a visual spectacle, but it has beautiful live music and hilarious clowns, and is full of emotions that make you want to laugh and cry at the same time. PH Hong Kong is a place where there are so many people and Quidam points out that people go unnoticed as you pass them on the street. You might even meet someone new after you've seen Quidam.