Cirque Du Soleil is studying audience members' brains to create new shows

"Nightline" went behind-the-scenes with the theater company known for their extreme, heart-stopping stunts as they try new ways to push the envelope.
7:14 | 06/01/18

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Transcript for Cirque Du Soleil is studying audience members' brains to create new shows
Reporter: A night at the circus unlike anything you could imagine. Cirque du soleilonymous with big, jaopping stunts at insane heights. We have to find ourselves raptured. You really want to make sure we do captivate people. Reporter: And mesmerizing shows like "Curious." "Ka." And the risque "Zumity." Today at the "O" theater in las Vegas, they're doingomething they've never done before. See people doing T things that we coulder do Reporter: Studying your brainon ue, attaching electrode to aude members as they watch a performance "O." We're looking at brain wave activity, lng at how the different parts of the B change in their response. Also T connections between those areas. Weldelp cirque du soleil te new shows so we could look to see whicherformances to create are more likely than others. Reporter: The goal, to find T how bra react to some of the 'S most extreme stunts. W constantlyave to challenge ourselves and what we think this information will do is gives T foundation to inue to T and evolve. Reporter: I a world of entertainment increasingly defined by showmanship, the bar T's humanly possible is constantly being pushed. Andirdu soleils looking to bet understand what diences crave. Audiences are changing.we can do so much more than we D when we started o30 years ago. If we have "Oh my god" moment, we know our audience is going ome on that jour with us. Reporter: But the challenge, how to push limitsn one Stan mea the difference between life andh. A performer with more than 15 of experience falling in Tampa. The audienceing in horror. Reporter: Earlis ar, rque lost one of its own, aeri Yann Arnaud falling to his death werforming a new high-flying ro There have beenaccidents, with other circumstances . How do you learn from those experiences and moveard? It's a constant per of refinement iteration. Is the momportant thing that we do. F there set that needs to be refined, of co we take that into consideration. Reporter: And while mistake dozen happen, the idea behind ose massive performances is to defy death while trying to minimize the risk can we bring things? No, I don't wan do a ler alert. But look carefully some the acts, you canee the safety lines. What W do is play with the lights. Play with the emoti through the music. Play with theetng and the costumes, of co. If we keep layering and layerin and layeringn a particu act, everybody will sused. And we still keep everybody safe. Reporter: All those layers eventuallymute into a show. He accidentally trips, the the audience realizes, oh, I something went wrong, or he's part of the act. Repr: We got a look dereation meg. Here the team is developing the next big cirque du soleil show. Y question is, ishigoing to get old? It's the same you see E time. Our process is tee years long. At thein you have to find a subject, somet you wanto talk about that's so exciting it will nre the team. We're making the script, so that's W I think takes the time. And of coursee're training acrobats, we're teachingple W numbers, we're trying out clown acts that have never been done before. Reporter: It all starts here in Montreal at cirque's quirky international headquarters where they conceive tho high-wire rformancesor shows all over the world, iding for dy, ABC's parent company. We oftentart with something called an acrobatic skeleton. So we would define, let's say, 10 or2 or 13 acts and say, okay, how does our conceptork into that? How do we W the around some of those amazing acts? Reporter: Surroun by acrobats, aerialists, and trampolineexperts, we find a amazemfa is the one thing that lets you know thiserson belongs in cirque? Something tisspecial. Something that either being from an acrobatic perspect artistic ct singer, musici that isdifferent. And then obviously we're looking for someonho haseached already a level of excellence. We're actually looking at people th are five, six,se ten years of perfor S is not a place for beginners likewhat is you're saying? Yes. Reporter: From the sets to the costumes, no detail overlooked. E costumes are not just beautiful, but theyeally have to be functional. Have to make something tiful that Rea works in tandemh an artist's body and their performance. Reporter: Fee inspired, it's time for channel my inner circus performer. Are you gready? . How do I look? I'mling real good You're looking cirque ready. Reporter: Looks familiar. This ism"o." Okay. This is a little revealing. So this is all you get.and maybe is. I'm going to try on another. I think we ha winner. Just a casual . Just Saturday afternoon stroll. This isrom volta,ai suspension costume. Might be switching outfits. Reporter: Back in street ott'sime to see if I have what it to be in cirque du soleil.trampoline performer bobatson is my acrobatic guru for the day. What? That's Ang. Wow. Thank you. Now teach me Rep I'm about to try my Handt a much simpler mov called the bum drop. Make sure your fingers point toward toes. Okathat seems easgh. Yay! Thank you. Reporter: Just I'm think th trampoline stuff is pretty easy -- I'm auditioning now. Reporter: Trying graduate to a more complicated move, the ba drop. When you go our back, ything hits. You don't wan to land with your chin to your chest. Legs and hands up? Okay. I'm terriblethis. Reporter:ur out it is not as eassse performers make it look. Maybll just leave the job O awe-inspiring to T professis. For "Nightline," I'm Marci Gonzalez. Nily not cut out for this.

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