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Photos: Backstage at Cirque du Soleil

Under the giant blue and yellow tent, technology is everywhere, even if the audience hardly knows it.
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1 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Soundboard

The main soundboard, which controls all the music the audience hears during Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo," is entirely digital and commands a terrific view of the stage during a rehearsal in San Francisco.

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2 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Trampoline

The opening act of the second half of "Corteo," which is titled "Paradise," involves a precisely installed 150-foot-long trampoline on which a dozen artists leap high into the air.

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3 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Track systems

"Corteo" features two huge track systems that arch over its stage. A computer controls the movement of the dollies along the tracks, from which every act in the show featuring midair artists or props is suspended.

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4 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Mixing board

"Corteo" is the only traveling Cirque du Soleil show that uses all digital mixing boards.

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5 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Acrobats

One of the early acts in "Corteo" features acrobats swinging and gyrating on three large chandeliers suspended from the tracks above.

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6 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Performers practice

"Corteo" performers practice the chandelier act hours before the curtain opens for a Wednesday evening show.

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7 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Corteo technician

A "Corteo" technician works at the controls of the computer that runs the show's advanced dolly movement system.

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8 of 8 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Big tops

"Corteo" is held inside one of Cirque du Soleil's trademark blue and yellow big tops. This one has also hosted "Varekai" and "Quidam," two other traveling shows.

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