Interview with Shania and Tiara Locke – Cirque Bon Bon

A Conversation with Shania and Tiara Locke

Twin Magic on Stage

Interview by Brendan Daynes

In the world of performance, synergy often takes centre stage, but for identical twins Shania and Tiara Locke, their bond goes beyond synchronised movements—it’s a harmonious blend of shared passion and unspoken connection. As they prepare to dazzle Melbourne audiences in Cirque Bon Bon, we delve into their journey from dancing together since birth to becoming integral members of this spectacular production. With an impressive repertoire, Shania and Tiara offer a unique perspective on the artistry, challenges, and joys of performing alongside each other. Join us as they chat with Brendan Daynes and share insights into their career, the intricacies of their twin dynamic, and what makes Cirque Bon Bon a must-see event for audiences of all ages.

How has your unique connection as identical twins shaped your performances in Cirque Bon Bon? Can you share an instance where this connection has particularly enhanced your performance?

We have a special bond from growing up dancing with each other, knowing each other’s strengths and even predicting each other’s improvisation. We are usually very in sync with each other, even in our everyday lives.

Everyone has their own unique style of how their body moves but being twins I feel our styles are very similar and we compliment each other in the best ways. We are like a mirror image. 

Can you describe the process of developing and maintaining on-stage chemistry with each other, and how it differs from working with non-twin partners?

Being twins we have been with each other our whole lives, we know everything about each other and trust each other 100% which is important when working in a team. Working with other non-twin partners differs because we have to build trust and learn on the job in the rehearsals.

If something goes wrong in a routine for instance there’s not enough space as predicted or someone’s not feeling well and we have to change the choreography on stage, our twin telepathy really comes in handy. It’s like we know what each other is thinking. We know what steps to change or skip and we can alter the dance so the audience never knows it wasn’t in the routine.

How did you both start your journey in dance and performance? Were there any pivotal moments or influences that steered you towards a professional career in the industry?

 We started dance at age 2 in Sydney, when we moved to Queensland we played tennis like our family. Where we would be spinning & even leaping across the court. Our Grandmother had told our parents to look for an RAD school and it just so happened that Tahlia Fowler won So You Think You Can Dance and came from Steps Dance Company. At 11 Years old we started dancing at Steps Dance Company with Julieann Nugent (Co-director of Cirque Bon Bon) and Jomel Purtil.

What does your daily training regimen look like? How do you stay in sync with each other, and what specific techniques or routines do you follow to ensure a top performance?

We do our Cardio & exercises in the morning, and afternoon stretches.

We don’t normally try to be in sync with each other, it comes naturally. We motivate each other.

We don’t have a specific routine we follow but we do like doing the same exercises & stretches. We do them together but if we aren’t together we send each other what we did.

How did you become involved with “Cirque Bon Bon”? What was the audition process like, and what drew you to this particular production?

 Juliann Nugent was one of our dance teachers growing up, she contacted us and told us she was creating a show with Ash Jacks Mcready in which Shania had recently worked with Ash before in Cirque Stratosphere. As they were first putting together Cirque Bon Bon there was a trial rehearsal with a couple dancers.

After multiple rehearsals we were cast. I think what drew us to the production was having known the creative directors before Cirque Bon Bon, the warmth and kindness that they show to all their cast members makes it feel extremely welcoming, like a family.

Can you give us a glimpse into the rehearsal process for “Cirque Bon Bon”? How does the preparation for a show of this scale differ from other productions you’ve been part of?

 The dance rehearsals usually start with a warm up and stretch. However, sometimes Julieann will hold a ballet class to add some diversity.

Depending on the show, cast and stage we usually start by workshopping lifts and new choreography with our partners. We will then learn routines from the show and any transitions we will be included in.

To help make the tech days run smoother we usually have a full cast rehearsal. This allows everyone to be aware of the run order and if any of the artists needs any assistance during or prior to their act, this is where we learn what is needed from us. We go over transitions with Cirque artists.

The combination of dance and cirque is unlike any other company we have worked for or even seen. We are lucky to get to perform full dance numbers throughout the show with lots of quick changes.

What are some of the unique challenges you’ve faced while performing in “Cirque Bon Bon”? How have these experiences contributed to your growth as performers?

 Some unique challenges we have faced is when we are in rehearsals and asked to choose a pose or move we often do exactly the same move. So one of us usually has to compromise and change their pose. I believe this has helped our growth as performers, being able to adapt and change to make it work.

What are your favourite acts or moments in the show? 

 “My favourite act would have to be Fly. The choreography/lighting/fog & eery music just creates an amazing atmosphere to dance to.”  Tiara

“I would also have to say my favourite act in the show is fly (one of our lyrical numbers). The lighting, choreography and kabuki’s used in this act creates such a breathtaking performance.” Shania

Where do you find inspiration for your performances? Are there specific artists or experiences that have influenced your style and approach?

We take inspiration from all our teachers and other artists we’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with. They have influenced many different styles, however we are heavily influenced by each other’s strengths and it helps wring any weaknesses.

What advice would you give to young dancers and performers who aspire to join large-scale productions like “Cirque Bon Bon”? What qualities do you think are essential for success in this industry?

 Stretch… Being flexible is a big part of dance. You want to be able to move fluidly, not restricted.

Don’t overthink it, just do it. You never know what the outcome may be! Always believe in yourself!

 Looking back at your careers so far, what are some key lessons you’ve learned that you wish you had known when you were starting out?

 When starting out in the performing industry you may hear a lot of “no’s”. You need to be resilient, thick skinned and be willing to take onboard any and all feedback. It’s tough to break into the market, but once you’re there, you can make a name for yourself.

Can you share some of the highlights of your career so far? Are there any particular performances or experiences that stand out as especially memorable or impactful?

Some Highlights are Performing with Queensland Ballet in the Commonwealth Games, working on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, Touring with Cirque Stratosphere, Cirque Bon Bon Olio in New Zealand & Jingle in the Powerhouse.

Growing up we enjoyed our many duets together, we especially loved the showcases at Steps Dance Company, where we performed the ugly stepsisters from Cinderella. We loved being able to act and have fun bringing the characters to life.
In Melbourne for a strictly limited season, CIRQUE BON BON promises to have audiences on the edge of their seat for 80 minutes of beauty and bravery, from 11 to 13 July at the Athenaeum Theatre.

Produced by Jacs Entertainment and Woodward Productions, CIRQUE BON BON is world-class cirque entertainment for all ages.

Tickets for CIRQUE BON BON range from $59 to $109 plus booking fee. Ticketmaster pre-sale tickets are available now, and tickets go on sale to the general public on Tuesday 30 April via Ticketmaster or at

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