Instead of a solid platform,her performance space is above the stage where she suspends herself with two pieces of fabric hanging from the ceiling without any safety nets or harnesses.
Her aerialist routine was added to Mystère in January as part of the show’s artistic revamp in honor of its 18th anniversary in Vegas. Before that she performed in other Crique du Soleil productions including “La Nouba,” “Delirium” and “ZED.”
Her awe-inspiring Tissu routine in Mystère incorporates contortion, acrobatics and movement. Together theses elements create optical illusions that leave spectators asking themselves, “How did she do that?”
While she’s the only aerialist on stage during her routine, her act is really a duet. Griep-Ruiz works in combination with an off-stage operator who initiates cues that move the fabric up and down.
“The timing between us is key for the acts to come off looking perfect,” said Griep-Ruiz.
Stemming from a circus family, she started performing when she was 3 years old. Her mom was a single-trapeze artist and her father was a sword-swallower/magician/clown/escape artist. She grew up in a traveling circus where her first discipline was the tight wire. From there she moved to performing on the swinging trapeze. In 1998, her mom gave her a set of fabric, and she fell in love. At the time, Tissu didn’t already have a well-defined technique assigned to it. This meant there was more room for Griep-Ruiz to be creative and push the boundaries.
“It was just about what you could find, what you could create,” said Griep-Ruiz.
She was also drawn to the freedom that went along with performing off the ground.
“I love being up in the air. You have to be completely aware of what you’re doing, so it’s kind of like you can only focus on one thing at a time. I find in life, so many times we’re multitasking, and in the air you’re just doing one thing. It’s nice,” said Griep-Ruiz.
The primarily self-taught artist developed her first Tissu act within months of receiving her new gift, and she started to perform in the circus she was a part of at that time. Her routine in Mystère is a combination of elements that she’s been working on for the past 13 years.
“Working in Vegas I wanted to include the best elements I can do and to give the audience something that they’ve never seen. There’s a lot of circus in this city, but I wanted to show fabric and Tissu in a way that hadn’t been seen before in Las Vegas,” said Griep-Ruiz.
With the music in Mystère as her guide, she created a routine that features both tricks and motor movements. Not only does she move up and down the fabric, but the fabric moves, allowing Griep-Ruiz to soar over the audience and at varying heights above the stage.
“I didn’t want to create something that was different compared to other things, I just wanted to create something that was interesting in my own eyes,” said Griep-Ruiz.
Her routine is one of a series of circus-style acts featured in Mystère. Each of the acts is more mystical than the next. Featuring colorful characters, vibrant costumes and fantastical prop pieces like a giant snail that fills the stage, Mystère offers guests a wondrous escape through a succession of highly-talented specialty performers.
“Each act pushes the extreme of the discipline, and that’s what I really love about Mystère… It has this wonderful classic feel, but it’s classic in a timeless way,” said Griep-Ruiz.