Qiu Jianming, a third-generation wire walker from China, took a careful step on the line, his arms outstretched for balance. He carefully moved a unicycle in his left hand and placed it on the wire, then balanced on it with only his chest, his hands on the pedals. His legs slowly extended upward until they were straight in the air. The music in the background was serene as he wheeled back and forth, a thin wire the only thing that separated him from the floor below.

Performers from a dozen different countries warmed up backstage, stretching their athletic limbs and conversing in a multitude of languages. Later, they practiced: women flew through the air with abandon, caught by the strong hands of the men on each side of the aerial circus act. Performers acting as crickets in the show bounced up and down on trampolines, completing stunning feats of athleticism by flipping and tumbling in mid-air.

Amy Brown and Kara You, part of the costume crew, were tucked away behind the scenes as well, sewing hats and touching up the gold foiling on shoes for the performers. Surrounding them were costumes, some bright green for crickets, others metallic brown for scarabs, each one meant to make its owner look like an insect.

On Sunday, performers and crew for Cirque du Soleil’s OVO began arriving in Bangor, and on Monday, 20 semi-trucks filled with equipment for the upcoming production were unloaded at the Cross Insurance Center on Main Street.

This is Cirque du Soleil’s first performance in Bangor since 2014 when it staged Varekai.

OVO tells the story of a mysterious egg that appears in the midst of an insect colony. The colony is amazed by the object. A fly arrives and is a bit of an outsider, but a ladybug catches his eye, and a love story blossoms from there. Ovo means “egg” in Portuguese.

“We’re bringing you into an insect colony,” Jessica Leboeuf, the publicist for Cirque du Soleil, said.

The cast of OVO includes 50 performing artists from 12 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts, and it also includes live musicians. The show opens on Thursday, June 2, and will run through June 5.

OVO has been seen by more than 4.5 million people worldwide since the show premiered in Montreal in 2009, where it was shown under a circus tent. Now, the same production has been altered to fill arenas throughout North America, including the Cross Insurance Center.

Marjon Van Grunsven, the artistic director of Cirque du Soleil and a native of Holland who has been working with the company for 10 years, has the job of teaching the acrobatically-talented performers of the production to become artists.

“Cirque is a dream,” Van Grunsven said. “It’s a place where dreams do come true.”

On stage in front of her, men climbed an enormous wall and flipped on trampolines. Some rushed down the air walk, turning head over feet and tumbling all the way from the back of the stage to the front.

“This is not really a circus to me. It’s more like theatre,” Van Grunsven said, watching as the performers rehearsed on stage.

OVO is different from shows that Cirque du Soleil has done in the past, Van Grunsven said. Rather than the dark, mysterious pieces that have been done over the years, this one is “a very happy show.”

“It’s colorful and beautiful,” Van Grunsven said.

Leboeuf said that the show is family friendly and will captivate audiences of any age.

“It provides an opportunity to forget your daily life for a few hours,” Van Grunsven said. “It’s an absolute must see for people who have never seen it. And for those who have seen it before, this show is a completely new creation.”

OVO will show 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2, 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 3, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 4, and 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, June 5. Tickets for adults range from $49 to $154, children’s tickets range from $29 to $124, and military, seniors and student tickets range from $44.50 to $89.50. They can be purchased by visiting the Cross Insurance Center Box Office or http://www.crossinsurancecenter.com/, or by calling 800-745-3000.

Shelby Hartin

Shelby Hartin was born and raised in southern Aroostook County in a tiny town called Crystal, population 269. After graduating from the University of Maine in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in...