Finding the right BALANCE in business with palm ribs and feathers

Finding the right BALANCE in business with palm ribs and feathers
Finding the right BALANCE in business with palm ribs and feathers

Ever since opening an office in the UK in 2010, everis has seen continuous growth.  “We have come a long way since those early days when we were just seven people in a small office in London” says David Costa, CEO of everis UK.

He describes how it continues to be a very exciting journey, one he enjoys daily. “Each day brings different challenges and the most important part in successfully overcoming these challenges, is to find the right balance within the business.”

everis certainly seems to have found its balance; every part of the business works well together; a positive attitude that filters down from the top, through to the everis people, the clients and their projects, the open and honest communication, the open-door policy.

To bring this delicate balance to life, everis invited their friend Mädir Rigolo – the creator of the awe-inspiring Sanddorn BALANCE show, performed at Cirque du Soleil’s AMALUNA – to the opening party of their new office.

In December 2017, everis had outgrown the ‘old’ offices and moved into beautiful, shiny new offices in UK House on Oxford Street. Jaime Fernandez, head of UK people says “We continued to hire more people and quickly ran out of space. The new office is a great, inspiring place for our people, giving them the right environment and tools to excel in their careers.”

During the mesmerising Sanddorn BALANCE performance Mädir Rigolo builds a giant, delicate, quivering structure out of palm ribs and a feather.

The act spread an aura of silence amongst clients and staff – as it has done for years in shows around the world, including in sell-out performances on Broadway.  Only a few months earlier, Mädir’s daughter Lara performed the Sanddorn BALANCE with Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall.

It was a real honour for us to have Mädir himself perform privately at our office and we have been ensured that it is an experience that will stay with many of our guest for a long time to come.


We asked Mädir a few questions to get some further insight into this amazing man and BALANCE .


1.What sparked the idea for the Sanddorn BALANCE act?

Acts like these are always born in a creation process when working on a new evening production. They are not designed on at a desk on a computer.

Sanddorn BALANCE was part of the stage play Sanddorn. Sand = sand and dorn = thorn. The company was working in a desert, in between sand and thorns.

Thorns are the dry palm leaf ribs which we found at a beach in Goa. Sanddorn is a play with improvised acts created under the artistic director. My task was to work on the theme ‘Balance’.


2.How long did it take you to develop the act?

In 1996 the act was received very well a part of the play Sanddorn. But it took another 10 years to develop Sanddorn BALANCE as it is today – and it keeps developing…


3.How did you arrive at using a feather and palm ribs? Did you experiment with many different materials?

For our improvisation exercises we searched for interesting materials. You can do a lot with the ‘thorns’ (these dried palm leaf ribs).

We found many representations in mythology: unicorn, Capricorn, Scorpio, the devil, the Death Man with the sickle, warriors bringing their weapons – all these are palm leaf ribs. A father builds a protective roof for his daughter. This was the balance with 13 ‘thorns’. The feather replaced the smallest thorn 10 years later.


4.How do you train for the act and how often do you rehearse?

During the creation, BALANCE needed some more training than more simple acts like ‘the devils with his thorns’. In general Sanddorn BALANCE had no special role in the play Sanddorn. The first 200 performances of the play Sanddorn were important. After 2 years, when touring of the play of Sanddorn had finished, we developed the idea to create a show about the theme ‘balance’. More and more I was asked to perform the act Sanddorn BALANCE at festivals, celebrations and festivities. I also presented Sanddorn BALANCE at my father’s funeral, which was very emotional.


5.You are often referred to as a modern-times shaman, entering a trance-like state when you perform. How do you feel and what do you think about while you are performing BALANCE? 

I was only referred to as shaman during the production of BALANCE in 2000, as the act moved into the centre of the dance performance of 6 international dancers. Because I am not a trained dancer and also older than the other actors, I got the role of the shaman.

I increasingly felt that I could touch people with this act. For me, the performance of this act, has become more and more a meditation.


6. You have trained a small circle of selected artists to carry on the tradition. How did you select these artists and how did you teach them to do the Sanddorn BALANCE?

After the ensemble piece BALANCE, came my solo performance ‘BALANCE UND ES DREHTE SICH’ (Balance and turning). At the same time people from the circus environment were getting interested in the Sanddorn BALANCE act. Soon I could no longer satisfy the demand.

I trained my daughter Lara for the Cirque du Soleil. It took her more than a year to get the act ready for the stage and to act like a female shaman.  She became the Balance Goddess with Cirque du Soleil.

I have carefully selected all balance artists. Almost all I have known from previous Rigolo productions.

Miyoko was with Balance 2000 and Lili Chou with our water production in 2004. Andreis Jacobs, who celebrates success in Africa Africa, is my daughter Lara’s husband. And in the end, another family member; my daughter Marula shows another very different version of the Sanddorn BALANCE act, in our latest piece WINGS. Everyone takes the name Rigolo; Marula Eugster Rigolo.

I had to train everyone differently and everyone makes it unique. But that was not so difficult for me because 40 years ago I trained as a teacher.


7.What does it mean to you that both your eldest daughter Lara and your youngest daughter Marula are so successful in taking BALANCE around the world?

The act has been a great success worldwide. The fact that my daughters are happy,  makes me, as their father, very happy of course.


8.Why did you call the act Sanddorn (translated from German as ‘Sallow Thorn’)?

It was created during the stage play Sanddorn. Sand = sand and dorn = thorn. The company was working in a desert, in between sand and thorns.


9.As a child, did you always dream of a career in theatre or did you have different ambitions when you were younger?

I was very athletic, and it was part of my daily routines to present myself in front of a public. As a gymnast I was part of the national Swiss team and, having done studies becoming a teacher, the next logical step was to attend a circus school. I decided to go to a school in Paris.

Quite soon I recognised that this was not the circus that I was really searching for. My idea of a circus was much more creative than only to present one number throughout my life in the circus around. That is why I founded, together with my wife Lena, Zirkus Rigolo in Paris. We created plays that are in between theatre and circus performances and always combine them with many objects. I have inventor blood in my veins and those who know me know that I do more than only Sanddorn BALANCE.. 


10.If a child would ask you for your best piece of advice to enter a career in theatre, what advice would you give? 

Go, where your heart shows you to go. Do, what your heart really wants you to do. Then you will be good. You will enfold your wings and you can fly. (This was the theme of our latest theatre production ‘Wings in My Heart’).


Mädir’s answers demonstrate that innovation comes in many different forms and that it is passion and self-believe that will get us the furthest. Mädir has found a beautiful balance in his act and in his family life. At everis, we appreciate that it is the delicate balance that we have created in our business environment, that makes us succeed.

Thank you Mädir for your mind-blowing performance once again!