dance / “Orb”. Sydney Dance Company. At Canberra Theatre May 25–27. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.
DURING Cher Albrecht’s career as a stuntwoman in Los Angeles, she was regularly “punched” in the face, fell from multi-storey buildings and hoped that fireworks would whizz past, rather than towards her.
An aspiring dancer, she started at age 17 performing in shows at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, which led to background acting in films such as “Bruce Almighty” and then stunts in TV shows and movies including “Starship Troopers II”.
It was a hard transition from live shows to film. It took her a year to get her mandatory union card with the Screen Actors Guild, which meant she could start “hustling” for work.
“When you have your union card, if you want to get work, you find out where a set is, sneak in, find the stunt co-ordinator, give them your headshot and then walk away,” she says.
During the hustling process things quickly became less glamorous when co-ordinators put their hands on Cher’s back or told her she was attractive.
Photos by MADDIE McGUIGAN
“I had friends who would make out with co-ordinators to get jobs quicker,” she says.
Needing a break from the chaos, Cher moved to Yosemite National Park and while rock climbing there met her now-partner Justin Ryan, who was visiting from Canberra.
“A couple weeks later he emailed me saying: ‘Hey, you should come to Australia, my company needs someone to run its marketing and website’,” Cher says.
In 2009 Cher finally left behind her “dangerous career” and moved to Canberra, where at the age of 42 she still gets to do what she loves, acrobatics.
These days she’s the owner and a teacher at her studio Aerial Sports, an “adult playground” in Mitchell where she holds casual classes.
With the use of aerial silks, Lyra and static trapeze, danger still seems to be part of Cher’s life, especially when she’s hanging three or so metres in the air.
But it doesn’t seem to be as scary as the time when stuntwoman Cher had to stay in a particular spot while fireworks, which were released on musical cues, would buzz past her.
“The fireworks went haywire, once I was burnt on my finger,” she says.
Or the time when Cher flipped too soon, pushed her back into the ground and gave her whiplash.
“I would lay there thinking: ‘God, I hope I haven’t broken anything’,” she says. She was lucky, her worst injury was a sprained ankle.
Aerial Sports. 17a Darling Street, Mitchell. Call 6262 0215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org