Cirque Le Soir isn’t like most clubs in Dubai. Step inside and you won’t just see a DJ behind the decks and the usual suspects on the dancefloor. On any given night, snake-charmers and clowns wind their way through the crowds, and as of this summer, you might also see someone snacking on shards of glass or swallowing an entire sword. In case you haven’t guessed, this isn’t a night out for the faint-hearted.
Cirque’s nightly performances range from the death-defying to the squirm-inducing. And to kick off its new season, the club announced it will now also be open on Saturdays after previously only welcoming steely-nerved guests on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Each evening sees a different DJ take to the decks, while two new performers have been added to the eye-popping (not literally, this time) roster of entertainment, including David Eriksson, a juggler and comedian from Sweden, and Cecilia Gosilla, a sword-swallowing, fire-breathing, contorting dancer – although she doesn’t do it all at the same time (give a girl a break, would you?). Her quirky CV also includes the Human Blockhead stunt, which basically involves hammering a nail into her head. Yes, you read that right.
Cecilia only started performing four years ago, when she was bored with her job. Like most people, she dreamed about running away to join the circus. Unlike most people, she actually went and did it. Unfortunately, the circus school in Copenhagen didn’t want her, but the very same day she got rejected, she met a man named Stork who decided to teach her. She’s been performing ever since. “I love being on stage,” she says. “I’m a really shy person, I don’t like attention, and I keep myself to myself. But when I walk onto the stage, I’m totally different. When guests laugh or cringe at my stuff, I get a real buzz.”
Despite the dangerous things she does on stage, she’s only ever been injured once. “I was performing on a slack rope,” she explains. “I turned around, lost my balance, and fell two metres.” She sprained her ankle, which meant she couldn’t train or perform for two months. Luckily, nothing else has ever gone wrong for her. And it’s especially lucky that her one slip-up was on a rope and not doing something like sword-swallowing. “If something were to happen – if somebody pushed me accidentally, or I fell, or I even just coughed – I could die.”
One of her other show-stopping pieces is fire-breathing. “I was terrified of doing anything with fire at first,” Cecilia admits. But after watching YouTube videos of people eating fire, she thought it looked beautiful and decided to give it a go. It didn’t go completely to plan – “The first time I did it, I was burnt everywhere. It was so painful.”
It’s a dangerous and unpredictable job, but Cecilia says she couldn’t imagine ever doing anything else now. “This is what makes me happy, and this is what makes sense for me to do.”
Don’t believe her? Head down four nights a week to see for yourself.
Open Mon-Tue and Thu-Sat 10.30pm-3am. Cirque Le Soir, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (050 995 5400).