NM native loves challenge of Cirque du Soleil roles

New Mexico native Jason Davenport works in a group of stunt performers in “Crystal — A Breakthrough Ice Experience.” (SOURCE: Matt Beard/Cirque du Soleil)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jason Davenport is always up for a challenge.

That’s why the New Mexico native joined Cirque du Soleil.

For the past four years, he has been a member of the organization. He was a cast member of “The Beatles Love,” which has a Las Vegas, Nev., residency.

And it was a challenge.

Jason Davenport

Yet what piqued his interest about Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal – A Breakthrough Ice Experience” was the opportunity to participate in something new.

The production premiered on Dec. 21 in Montreal and is touring the country. It makes a stop in Rio Rancho beginning Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Santa Ana Star Center.

“This is a whole new element,” Davenport says. “Being part of a smaller, traveling show, it has a lot of moving parts.”

The story follows Crystal, a misfit with her head in the clouds, a dreamer looking for something more in her life.

One day, feeling misunderstood and out of sync with the world, she ventures out on a frozen pond and falls through the ice.

Her imagination takes her to another world, and this is also the first time Cirque du Soleil is working with ice.

In the production, Davenport is an aerialist and ground porter.

“I throw and catch people in the show,” he says. “I work with a group of other people, so we have to come together as a unit.”

Davenport’s road to Cirque du Soleil was one of serendipity.

Davenport, raised in southern New Mexico, grew up in-line skating.

After graduating from Chaparral High School, he enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where he got a bachelor’s degree in design for performance in 2010.

He then found cheerleading, which helped him build the skills for “Crystal.”

“For the new productions, Cirque is letting us have the wheel,” he says. “We’re able to make the parts our own. They are letting us play and figure out the show. It’s been amazing.”

With the show arriving in his home state, Davenport is looking forward to having family and friends seeing the show.

His brother lives in Rio Rancho and is a nurse. And his mother and stepfather will attend, as well as his college roommate, who is the coach for the UNM cheer squad.

“Hopefully, they will bring some current cheerleaders to see that there is a career after college,” he says. “My journey all fell into place. Since I was a kid, I was taking dance or aerial classes. Now I get to use it all in my performances.”

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