The latest spectacular to hit Dubai is La Perle by Franco Dragone at the Habtoor Grand. The show utilises 65 highly trained artists from 23 different countries in a vast array of extraordinary physical feats, many while flying through the air.
The man tasked with keeping these high performance athletes at the top of their game, and spinning through the air ten shows a week, is Pierric Morel, La Perle’s Head of Performer’s Wellness and Development.
The Dubai based osteopath’s responsibility is to look after each individual’s care plan including their dietary requirements and along with his team, provide the necessary wellness coaching to reduce or eliminate high-risk behaviours.
Morel graduated from six years of Ostepathy D.O, specialising in Posturology and Sports, Structural Technics, Modern Acupuncture and Acupressure and then started his own Osteopathy clinic in Lyon.
He began working in the circus industry in 2005 with a famous French company called Les Arts Sauts, which led him to legendary impresario Dragone and in 2008 he began working on The House of Dancing Water in Macau.
Morel moved to Dubai in 2015 where Dragone reached out to him again and brought him on board for La Perle.
Like all elite athletes La Perle’s performers have a rigorous schedule to keep them fit for their dangerous stunts.
“The artists have been conditioning their bodies and mind for the shows for almost a year now,” said Morel. “The process began late last year, when we began Training and Formation, which is where the artists learnt the skills necessary.
“They trained from 9am – 6pm every day, six days a week, ensuring they were in peak condition.
“Now that we have begun the show schedule, we have to ensure the artists are getting enough rest, especially during their two days off, but we have to keep them training every muscle and motivated so they remain in shape.
“It can be a shock to the body to go from rigorous training to only moving once curtain is called and we can’t let this happen – we have to make sure they remain just as fit and healthy.”
Morel’s own philosophy for health and fitness is to “keep the fun” but “sometimes to keep the fun can be hard, which is why you have to be passionate.
“In competitions, you have to go into survival mode, where you train hard, but you know there’s an end.
“In this industry, fun and happiness is vital because once you lose that joy, your mind slips and you won’t train properly, resulting in injuries.
“If you’re not eating properly or getting enough sleep, your body is going to start to become weak and therefore you lose your spirit. It’s my job, when I see that positivity and happiness slipping, I focus on the person as I know the problems will begin.
“You can do all the physio you want, but if that person isn’t there mentally, it’s all for nothing – you lose them.”
In terms of his own wellness regime Morel tries fit in cardio and exercise at least twice a week, around his working hours: “I drink lots of water and attempt and get outside and connect with nature, something that is so important for your health and wellbeing.”
His tips on staying fit are “eat well, train well and sleep well. This is the base that everyone must follow.
“It’s all about mind and body, from the moment you have a good balance you will be successful.
“I don’t believe in ‘no pain, no gain’, you have to listen to your body and respect it – if you put your body through years of pain then it will break, that pain is your body speaking to you.
“If you want a long career, you have to work with your body, be realistic and manage your body is a positive way, negative emotions will lead to your body to react in the same way.”
What: La Perle
Where: Al Habtoor Grand
Verdict: High performance artists in extraordinary physical feats.