The main set (photo by Michael Percha)

The Dow Event Center in Saginaw is hosting the world famous Cirque du Soleil this weekend, and for the first time in the group’s history, the show is performed on ice.

The world famous troupe of acrobats, jugglers and performers began in Quebec in 1984 with just a handful of people. 35 years and thousands of performances later, the group has grown to more than 4,000 performers in 19 separate shows worldwide.

Cirque du Soleil Crystal tells the story of a girl who falls through the ice and discovers a world of magic within her own imagination. Acrobatics and ice skating combine seamlessly as in-line, speed and figure skaters join the troupe to bring a breathtaking spectacle to the audience.

Cirque du Soleil publicist Julie Desmarais says Crystal has been quite a journey so far.

A performer does handstands on stacked chairs during rehearsal (photo by Michael Percha)

“We have a lot of artists that are new to Cirque du Soleil by bringing in the ice skating dimensions to our production. It’s always with the idea of pushing boundaries and always pushing what we do a little further by surprising also our audiences.”

The family friendly show has been several years in the making as top skating athletes from around the world were sought out. Desmarais says each of the performers had to learn new skills to make the show work.

“For the ice skaters, who had to learn a whole new set of skills by learning how to do acrobatics… As for the acrobats, it was also a lot of adapting because we’re working on a new surface, so it’s learning how to skate, because that was one of the requirements to having all of our artists to learn how to skate and to be able to skate on the ice.”

Costumes used in the show (photo by Michael Percha)

The show premiered Wednesday, May 22 at the Dow Event Center and has performances Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A 4:00 p.m. show will also be held on Saturday and the final show is Sunday, May 26  at 1:30 p.m. For ticket information, the Dow’s website.