When Zabato Bebe was a little boy, performers on stage, who were capable of mesmerizing the audience with their tricks, their looks, and their ability to tell a story, fascinated him.
Add to the mix a pair of ice skates and a father who was a dancer, and you have all the ingredients needed to make Bebe a star in his own right.
Growing up in Vienna, Austria, the son of a professional African dancer and a professor of arts, the young boy was always very interested in creativity combining different forms of art and entertainment
“My dad was from the Ivory Coast and I’ve been a figure skater most of my life,” Bebe explains. “Growing up, my parents pretty much let me do whatever I wanted to do, although my father always encouraged me to bring something more to the ice that was far from ordinary.”
During his career as an athlete, Bebe competed in many national and international competitions. The next step for him was to perform in ice shows.
Since making the transition from amateur skating to professional skating, Bebe has been exciting audiences all over the world, just like he’s doing currently in Cirque du Soleil’s first — and so far only show on ice — titled “Crystal.” The show will be performed June 20-23 at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I joined this ice creation back in June 2017, and have been touring with the production across North America ever since,” Bebe says. “I never thought I’d ever be in a show like this. For me, it’s like a dream come true.”
Bebe adds that surrounded by amazing people who possess beautiful and hero-like skills means there’s never a dull moment. “And we do crazy things on the ice that to us seem perfectly normal as we push ourselves to please and astound our audience.”
But he adds, a lot of practice takes place before the acts are perfected.
“For instance,” he says “working on two Chinese poles is just one of the craziest things I do. It’s hard to explain but I’ve never done anything like this before let alone as a figure skater.
“When they asked me to do that,” he adds, “my stomach defintely turned around a few times before I agreed to do it. But after a lot of practice I’m now totally used to it. I also got used to doing a double back flip on a very small surface of ice.”
Bebe says he thoroughly enjoys performing but looks forward to the day he can start doing some choreography, “both for Cirque and for their companies as well.”
But for now, Bebe admits he derives great joy just from performing.
“I love performing in front of people. “I love watching their astonishment as they see people do what seems to be the impossible . I also like to think maybe I’m inspiring kids to think about the things they could do. The body is a tool for expressing yourself, and maybe I can convince others think that way, too.”