For those unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it’s an international entertainment company whose shows combine dance, acrobatics, live music and costumes. Their latest show, TORUK: The First Flight, is inspired by James Cameron’s blockbuster film AVATAR. Louisianians can see it Feb. 1-5 at the Smoothie King Center.

How much training and rehearsal goes into such an intricate performance? The creation process … included training and rehearsing for six days a week for about four months leading up to the first performance. … They learned the Na’vi language from Paul Frommer, creator of the language. They studied Na’vi movement with Julene Renee, an actress involved in AVATAR. And they worked with the designers and the show creators, Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, to become their Na’vi characters. … Once the show had its premiere, the cast and crew continued to train and tweak some elements.

Does someone have to be familiar with AVATAR to enjoy the show? It is a completely new, independent story, taking place 3,000 years before the events in the film. … If you’ve seen AVATAR before, you’ll recognize some elements – the blue Na’vi humanoids, some of the creatures, a few common themes – but if you haven’t seen AVATAR, it’s a great opportunity to be introduced to Pandora.

What is your favorite part of the show? The use of projections, storytelling and what we call an acrobatic narrative is unlike any other show I’ve worked on or witnessed as a patron.

Is it recommended for all ages? This is an excellent show for kids of all ages – adults, grandparents, anyone! The colors are really mesmerizing, the story simple enough for kids to follow … It’s an opportunity to escape into another world and experience a show unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.