A photo from Cirque du Soleil “KURIOS-Cabinet of Curiosities” show.

Who doesn’t love Cirque du Soleil? Well, on Dec. 4, over 450 local Girl Scouts got to see Cirque’s show “Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities” up close and personal.

Not only did the girls get to enjoy the extraordinary show, but they got the opportunity to participate in a post-show Q&A, meet the artists, and ask all the questions they could think of. 

“We’re always looking for opportunities where we can partner with organizations in the Atlanta area,” said Leslie Gilliam, spokesperson for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. ““Ideally, we try to come up with something that not only entertains, but has an ability to also educate and inspire.”

The acrobatics and soaring heights of a Cirque du Soleil show make up the entertainment aspect of that equation. But when it comes to inspiration and education, the talk back solidified Cirque as the perfect choice for the outing. It wasn’t just acrobats or performers who the girls got to meet, but lighting engineers, stage managers, and more. 

Gilliam, who didn’t attend the show but heard from girl scouts and parents about the experience, said the lighting engineer gave advice about perseverance as a woman working in a male-dominated field. Marissa McEckron, an eighth-grade Cadette in Troop 383 from Cobb County, took that to heart.

From left to right, Koby Wilson and Marissa McEckron, 8th-grade Cadettes in Troop 383 in Cobb County. Photo taken by Brooke Werner McEckron.

McEckron said her favorite part of the show was a bit that involved a “fish” on a trampoline, due to the athleticism and creativity necessary to make the endeavor work. But when it came to the Q&A session, she saved her question for a publicist, submitting her thoughts through an online form with the help of her mom. 

“I asked the publicist what her favorite part of her job was,” she said in an email. “It is very interesting to learn about the various careers that women have, especially when they are in a predominantly male career, like the woman who is in stage production.”

Brooke Werner McEckron, Marissa’s mother, said she was surprised by the amount of questions the Girl Scouts had after the show. 

“The panel of women were so patient and gracious to spend so much time speaking with the Girl Scouts,” she said in an email. 

Gilliam said speaking with parents after the show, she got the sense the experience was just as inspiring for them as it was for the kids. One mom said that she couldn’t decide where to look – at the incredible Cirque du Soleil show unfolding in front of her, or the wide-eyed expressions of amazement on the girls sitting behind her. 

Werner McEckron agreed. She said prior to Kurios, neither she nor Marissa had attended a Cirque du Soleil show. Even still, it was hard to keep her eyes off of the joy unfolding in front of her.

“I sat behind two of our Kindergarten Daisies,” she said. “I had almost as much fun watching their reactions of amazement as I did watching the show. They were jumping out of their seats, squealing with delight, and clapping throughout the show.”

While the Girl Scouts didn’t receive a skill-building badge for their trip, they did receive a patch. According to Gilliam, the girls wear these to show off the different things they do in their communities. She said she hopes the Cirque experience helps the girls see the world in a different way. 

“Anytime you take any child and you introduce them to something that they haven’t seen before, that they haven’t done before, it makes them think differently,” she said. “It makes them see the world as a little bit bigger.”

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.