B1 Intermediate 44 Folder Collection
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Aboard the world's largest cruise ship,
6,600 passengers pay a premium
to be entertained every single day.
That's why Royal Caribbean hires serious athletes
to do eight shows a week.
They get paid to perform in productions
around the world
in front of millions of cruise-goers.
But the job isn't always easy.
Performers work 11 months straight
without a single vacation day,
and they do it all on a moving stage
in the middle of the ocean.
Ariana Mazzagatti: That is
the biggest thing to get used to,
is the rock of the ship.
When you're going to do a jump
and you expect the floor to be here,
but the floor is here or the floor is here.
Narrator: We went behind the scenes
with the principal character of the aqua show
to see what it's really like to be a performer
on a cruise ship.
Aboard Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas,
there are ice shows, Broadway-style plays,
and an aqua performance.
Mazzagatti: Hi, I'm Ariana Mazzagatti.
I go by Mazz here in the Royal Caribbean world.
I am the aerialist for the show "HiRO"
on the Symphony of the Seas,
and I am also the aqua captain.
Narrator: Mazz is in charge of 20 other performers
in the cruise line's original show "HiRO."
It tells the story of three warring clans,
and Mazz's character
brings peace between them.
To bring her powerful character to life,
Mazz is strapped into a 3D flying apparatus
that allows her to flip and "run" above the crowd
with only wires holding her up.
Mazz is American
in a cast of performers from all over the world.
And they're all accomplished athletes:
professional slackliners, Olympic-level divers,
and world-renowned martial artists.
Like many of her fellow castmates,
Mazz never planned on being
a cruise-ship performer.
On a whim, she tried out
for Royal Caribbean her junior year of college
and beat out thousands of others for a spot.
Mazzagatti: It's as difficult to get into a ship show
as it is to get into a Broadway or a West End
or a Cirque du Soleil show.
Narrator: And in 2015,
Mazz got the call from Royal Caribbean.
She dropped out of college and has been performing
on cruise ships ever since.
After getting a role in "HiRO,"
the show's performers head
to Royal Caribbean's training facility in Florida.
This is where they spend two months learning
and perfecting the routine.
Then they're off to sea.
Their stage?
The tricked-out AquaTheater
aboard the world's largest cruise ship.
It's made up of the deepest pool at sea,
with a transforming bottom, 30-foot diving towers,
a trampoline, and tightropes suspended above the crowd.
The new digs take some getting used to.
Mazzagatti: You're brought from those plain,
gray studios with mirrors into this,
and you're relearning everything,
because it all changes.
The water, the weight of the costumes,
the quick changes backstage,
the makeup changes, the hair changes.
It adds so many new elements
that you could not even dream of during rehearsals.
Narrator: Finally, they're performing live
at the 600-person theater.
Mazzagatti: It takes about maybe two or three weeks
to get into the zone and to feel 1,000%,
you're not so stressed anymore.
Narrator: So far, this cast is about a third of the way
through its 11-month contract.
The performers don't get a single vacation day
during their run.
Trips home are only allowed in the case of an emergency.
They typically perform eight shows a week.
Before any performance,
Mazz usually hits the gym for about an hour.
Then she comes to the theater
to run a safety test on the 3D flyer.
The flyer is made up of a harness
and four sets of wires connected to the ship.
The technology is pretty complex
and can move her on four axes.
But the tech is proprietary to Royal Caribbean,
so we couldn't get too close.
After Mazz is all set on the wire,
she stretches, then heads downstairs
to the secret 4.5 deck of the ship
to put on her makeup and get into costume.
Mazz and her castmates do all their own makeup.
Once the show starts,
Mazz stays hidden through the opening.
Then she quietly climbs on a platform
at the back of the audience
while a crew member straps her into the harness.
Mazzagatti: The harness is very tight
so that I do not fall out.
So the pain is necessary.
I can't necessarily say you get used to it,
because every day it might in a different spot,
so you're just bruising a new spot.
Narrator: The flying mechanism
already has her routine programmed into it.
So once a crew member hits a button
in the production box,
she soars above the crowd.
While suspended, Mazz uses her body
to control her flips and spins.
Mazzagatti: If I get too turned to the front
or if my arm is out of place or if my chin is forward,
it'll send me rocking back and forth like this,
and I'll never be able to control it back
because it just sends you,
and once you get a pull in the wire,
it'll just keep going.
Narrator: Throughout her contract,
Mazz and her castmates
will do this same routine 200 times,
using the same muscles every day.
That's why they're required to keep in shape.
But that's not the only challenge.
Remember, they're performing at sea.
If it's windy, she's blown around.
Mazzagatti: If it's rocking,
sometimes the wires
will pull harder on one side.
So I have to work around and be able
to preemptively move my body in a way
that if I know a rock is coming,
I have to put more on one side than the other
so that I can even out myself with the rock.
Narrator: All these things affect
other aqua performers, too.
A bob in the ship could affect the balance
of a tightrope walker.
If it's rocky, where a diver hits the water
could be totally different from where they intended to
when they left the platform.
If conditions are too bad, say, high winds
or a rainstorm with lightning,
they'll postpone the performance.
Mazzagatti: Every day is an absolute adventure.
Whether that be a difficult adventure,
you're tired. We work a lot.
We have safety duties that I don't think
a lot of people necessarily even realize.
We have so many more duties
than just coming out and performing.
Narrator: Now, Royal Caribbean wouldn't share
how much performers are paid.
But the cruise line did say they get health insurance
while they're employed on the ship
and free housing on board.
Performers live in the crew quarters on the lower decks.
Mazzagatti: We have roommates,
so two live to a cabin.
There are a few who have their own cabin.
And then, as aqua captain, I get my own cabin.
Narrator: We weren't allowed to
see the crew quarters,
but we were told that they have their own mess hall,
grocery store, and even a dance club.
Performers can use the passenger gym,
eat at the reservation-only restaurants,
and swim in the pools,
all things no other crew members are allowed to do.
Plus, they get to travel.
This contract with Symphony of the Seas
sails in the Caribbean, docking in St. Martin,
Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas.
But Mazz has been to tons of other places
on her other five contracts,
including Brazil, Asia, and the Mediterranean.
Mazzagatti: I will do this until my body
physically cannot move.
We are paid to dance, or sing, or dive,
or ice skate, or synchronized swim,
and we are paid to travel at the same time,
and that's the best part about it.
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What It Takes To Be A Cruise Ship Performer

44 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on January 18, 2020
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