Showing posts with label Cirque du Soleil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cirque du Soleil. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2019

Juggler Shares His Experience On the Ice with Cirque du Soleil

Juggler Jorge Petite in Cirque du Soleil's "Crystal."
 (Photo by Matt Beard / Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt)
For those who already have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, try to imagine ice skating while juggling. Fortunately, that feat has already been mastered by Jorge Petite so that you don’t have to. Jorge appears in the amazing traveling show, Crystal by Cirque du Soleil coming to Everett from April 10-14, 2019.

I got a chance to meet Jorge and Julie Desmarais, a publicist for the show, to discuss this unlikely combination of ice skating and acrobatics. For Jorge, his story started in 2002 when he took ups juggling as a hobby in Chile.

“I just wanted to learn how to juggle three balls and then I started learning tricks from videos I found on the internet and then it became a very serious hobby,” he tells me. “I think five years after that I started doing acts and started performing a little bit. Thirteen years after that I went to École Nationale De Cirque (National Circus School) in Quebec and then started my professional career.”

I saved him from the jokes that I heard others commenting on that he must not have done a lot of ice skating while growing up in Chile, which then got me thinking. I wondered what the most annoying question people ask him was.

“If I juggle chainsaws,” he says. “They always ask me that.”

So, while Jorge may not risk his life, he is still pretty much a daredevil.

Jorge learned how to ice skate during the creation of Crystal about a year and a half ago and about three months before the soft premiere in Lafayette, Louisiana. And he wasn’t the only one. The whole crew had to learn how to ice skate for the company’s 42nd creation.

(Photo by Matt Beard / Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt)
Unlike traditional circus show, this production has a storyline about a girl named Crystal trying to find her place in this world and finds it by diving into her own world of imagination. She’s young, creative and misunderstood by others. Her journey begins at a frozen pond where she sees her reflection and then falls through the ice. There, she finds herself in an upside down world where her reflection leads her to path to awaken her own creativity.

“The show Crystal is about looking at things from fresh angles, peeking through the veneer of everyday life, reframing one’s daily reality to see what one might have missed. Sometimes the only way to appreciate things is to look at them sideways,” says the show’s press materials.

So, how did this whole concoction of mixing ice with acrobatics come about? Cirque Du Soleil is known for always pushing the boundaries and creating a show on ice seemed like the next natural step for the company.

“We had to do a bit of research to see how we could implement acrobatics with ice skating,” says Julie. “We also did some workshops with ice skating coaches like Kurt Browning as well as acrobatic coaches and we experimented a lot of new things to see how this could be really possible.”

Jorge is just one of 43 performers in the show which includes trapeze artists, BMX ice bike riders, a clown and a three-person live band. The cast is about half acrobats and half ice skaters coming together as an ensemble performance.

Despite what you might think, Julie assures me that Crystal will present the same quality show usually found under their big top. Everything from the stage to the lights travels with this show in 17 semi-truck trailers traveling to more areas so that more people can experience a Cirque du Soleil show. In total, there are 90 people from 20 different countries that travel with the show for 10-12 weeks at a time. They take two weeks off and then hit the road again for about 300 shows a year.

Crystal will be presented in Everett at the Angel of the Winds Arena for eight shows over the span of five days from April 10-14, 2019. Shows will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 12:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday before the hit the road again. Tickets start at $109 and can be purchase online. The arena is located at 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett, WA 98201.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cirque Du Soleil “Wows” With New Show

Review of Cirque Du Soleil's "Volta."
Volta (photo credit: Patrice Lamoureux)
A few things you can always count on when watching a Cirque Du Soleil performance: The show will always be artsy, the acts will always be amazing, the costumes will be crazy and there will almost always be some weirdness involved. Volta, the circus company’s traveling show here for a limited time features all of those elements but this show is probably one of the most family-friendly shows that features stunts that “real” kids could master themselves if they work hard at it.

Focusing a lot on extreme sports this time around, Volta attempts to share a storyline about a young teenager who doesn’t fit in with the usual crowd who march in unison staring at the cell phones all wearing the same grey clothes. He attempts to show off his talent for the “Mr. Wow Show” only to be laughed at off the stage. (The cast and crew of the “Mr. Wow Show” look like they just stepped out of “The Hunger Games” movie) He is then befriended by a group of (literally) colorful characters who don’t dress or act alike and convince him that he is more like them. Or something.

Review of Cirque Du Soleil's "Volta."
(Photo: Michael Kass)
Volta is said to be “about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgement of others.” While this production is incredible, the storytelling is confusing at best. Many of the acts do not fit into this theme either, which is fine really. Just don’t expect to be moved by the message. Instead, be surprised by how many times you say “wow” out loud watching the show.

Volta is Cirque du Soleil’s 41’st original show since 1984 and 18th featured under the “big top.” This particular show features artists from the USA, Canada, Finland, Brazil, Italy, Uruguay, Australia, Japan, France, the UK, Russia, China, South Africa, Slovakia, Cambodia and Poland. The costumes that they wear were designed by Zaldy Godo who has done work for the likes of Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and others. The set is simply a circle with the audience sitting up closer than the usual performance.

Review of Cirque Du Soleil's "Volta."
(Photos: Michael Kass and BenoitZ)
Andrey Kislitsin from Russia plays Mr. Wow who is also the show’s resident clown. He is a young clown who masters older clown techniques. Kids will love this guy who is not only funny, but sweats buckets during his routines. As for the acts, there is a nice mix of things you’ve never seen or thought possible and surprisingly, they aren’t perfect. But what makes this show so great is that when an artist fails on their mission, they are encouraged for their fellow artists and the audience alike to try it again. When they do and succeed, the crowd goes wild. Everyone watching is rooting for all of the performers to win.

Volta’s show’s acts includes:

The Mr. Wow Show
Featuring amazing rope skipping tricks, a man spinning around in a giant ring and larger-than-life costumed judges.

Meeting Ela
This is when the cool, colorful kids coming in performing a bunch of street sports including roller skates and an amazing unicycle act.

Review of Cirque Du Soleil's "Volta."
(Photo: Michael Kass and BenoitZ)
Guardian Angel in the City
Pawel Walczewski performs what is called the “Acro Lamp,” which looks like dining room table that he glides around in the air upon.

Rise & Shine
A bunch of characters jumping on large trampoline and bouncing off the walls. One of the best acts of the night.

Mr. Wow’s Nightmare
The clown attempts to do laundry with some trouble.

This is one unusual act that features a BMX bike rider and a ballet dancer and surprisingly, it works.

Review of Cirque Du Soleil's "Volta."
Perhaps my favorite act of the night included dropping two women from the ceiling on bungees alternating with eight guys swinging on Swiss rings and doing flips.

Leaving the City
Two performers do a balancing act on a contraption called the acrobatic ladder that folds up.

Urban Jungle
This fun act features a group of performers jumping through various shapes at different heights.

La Page
Mr. Wow goes to the beach.

This “hair-raising” performance is just incredible. Danila Bim from Brazil flies around the big top by her hair! Besides looking painful, it was a beautiful production. (Don’t try this at home.)

The kid shows his stuff in a contemporary dance act

An amazing performance featuring a bunch of BMX bike riders and glass-paneled ramps the turn on the giant turntable.

Overall, Volta isn’t as extravagant as previous shows. It does feature fire or water effects, but it does feature a large turntable and some clever set designs. Instead of the usual big closing number/production, Volta only features the cast to run out around the stage, wave and then run back. It was a bit disappointing, but overall, this is another show not to be missed.

Volta continues playing at Marymoor Park through November 4, 2018 with tickets starting at $39. (Tickets can be purchased online here.) Marymore Park is also changing $20 for parking. Marymoor Park is located at 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond, WA 98052.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Cirque Du Soleil Returns with “Volta”

"Volta" will perform at Marymoor Park this fall. (Cirque Du Soleil)
While the circus days of Barnum and Bailey and live animals are now gone, we still have Cirque Du Soleil and all of the acrobat feats that come with it.

Returning once again to Marymoor Park this fall, Volta is described as “the ultimate achievement” according to Cirque Du Soleil.

“Volta is a captivating voyage of discovery,” says the press materials. “It’s about finding yourself, and unveiling your personal powers. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, the show weaves acrobatics in a visually striking world driven by a stirring melodic score.”

This year’s show appears to be a bit different from previous ones as this one has a storyline involving a gameshow contestant who is apparently ashamed of himself because he’s different. He searches for fame in hopes of receiving love and acceptance from others, but of course that is not the solution.
Volta is said to be “about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgement of others.”

Acts Include:

Acro Lamp
An aerial artist flies in long sweeping arcs. Hanging on with his hands or feet, he swings and spins gracefully using the light to metaphorically illuminate the journey of the character.

Hand to Hand
Two colourful acrobats perform a daring hand to hand duo while rolling on a unicycle as part of a striking group choreography.

Shape Diving
In an electric, urban atmosphere, artists tumble and jump through shapes, sometimes feet first, sometimes backwards, sometimes bent in half, even adding breakdancing and hip-hop-style moves into the mix.

Five riders invade the stage to deliver a jaw-dropping, fast and furious performance of nonstop acrobatics on wheels.

Flatland & Ballet Duo
Coming from disciplines that seem worlds apart, two artists create mirror-like images in a mesmerizing synchronized choreography.

Rope Skipping
With an urban, hip hop attitude, they tumble, flip, and perform handstand hops through the spinning ropes

Acrobatic Ladder
Artists climb on two giant articulated ladders pivoting on stage. They execute stunning acrobatic figures while spinning majestically over the audience.

Volta will be playing at the park from September 7 through November 4, 2018 with tickets starting at $39. (Bring some extra cash with you as the park usually charges extra for parking,) Tickets can be purchased online here. Marymoor Park is located at 6046 West Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond, WA 98052.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: Cirque du Soleil's 'Luzia' - A Mexican Trip You Won't Soon Forget

Review of Cirque du Soleil's "Luzia."
Left: Ugo Laffoly's hand-balancing act. Right: Kelly McDonald gets tossed around. 


By now you have heard that one of the performers of Cirque du Soleil’s presentation was hurt during the opening night’s performance on Thursday, March 30. The joyful show came to a quick and somber stop during Luzia’s second to last act of the night, the “Swing to Swing.” Instead of landing on her feet from one swing to the other, the performer landed flat on her back. The audience gasped and after a few moments the medical crew arrived on stage. Then the music changed to a more peaceful tone and the audience was asked to stay seated. Everyone watched in relative silence as the crew took care of the performer and reassuring messages were given overhead that the show would go on. After a few minutes, she was taken away on a flat board, the audience gave a standing ovation, the crew cleared off the stage and the finale for the program continued. It was an eerie and unsettling end to one fantastic show. Cirque du Soleil is one class act that even when tragedy strikes, they remain calm, orderly and professional. Fortunately, the performer was okay and will come back to the show in a few days. That was the end of the show. Now, here’s what we got to see at the beginning…

Review of Cirque du Soleil's "Luzia."
"Swing to Swing"
Luzia gets its name from “luz” meaning “light” in Spanish and “Iluvia” meaning “rain,” the two main components of the show. Luzia is beautiful, breathtaking and a little weird. This “trip” to Mexico began with a clown (not your traditional clown with makeup) parachuting from the sky and having a little trouble with his parachute and lands in a “waking dream” which will features many different aspects of Mexican culture with some more traditional than others.

Unlike other Cirque du Soleil shows, Eric Fool Koller (from the Netherlands) is this show’s only clown who pops up from time to time to help bridge the show from act to act, which Luzia does seamlessly. The next act immediately following called “Running Woman” featured Shelli Epstien (from the United Kingdom) running on a large treadmill seemingly being chased by a silver horse. She is donned with giant butterfly wings and act is a fantastic way to start the show.

Review of Cirque du Soleil's "Luzia."
Luzia continued the next act with two treadmills and metal hoops that various performances would dive through. The act “Adagio” followed with Kelly McDonald (from the USA!) literally being tossed around from by four men. While it’s no way to treat a lady, it was pretty cool to watch. Then the next act featured trapeze artist Enya White (from Canada) and two “Cyr Wheel” artists (Angelica Bongiovonni and Rachel Salzman (both from the USA) spinning around in the center of the stage. And then it began to rain which gave the act a whole different look and feel as the performers rejoiced in the shower.

The clown came back to interact with the audience while a “film crew” set up a beach scene where Ugo Laffoly (from France) did a hand-balancing act on stilts getting progressively higher as he went. This was followed by the “Football Dance” which was basically two soccer players (Laura Biondo from Italy and Abou Traore from Ginea) doing hip hop moves while balancing a soccer ball. It was cooler than it sounds.

Review of Cirque du Soleil's "Luzia."
Benjamin Courtenay, not Fabio. 
After intermission, we various pole dance specialists did their thing followed by Krzystof Holowenko (from Poland) doing a 360-degree circle on a large swing and then“Straps” artist, Benjamin Courtenay (from Canada) flying about swinging his long locks in and out of pool of water in the air. The show finished off with juggler Rudolf Janecek (from the Czech Republic) and one of the most incredible contortionists I’ve ever seen – Aleksei Goloborodko (from Russia). Throughout the show we were treated with an incredible water show that started and stopped quickly to actually presents “pictures” as it was dropped from the top of the ten, people walking around with fish heads and arguing cacti.

Overall, Luzia didn’t necessarily feel like Mexico, but more like different dreamy versions of the country. If you’ve seen and enjoyed other Cirque de Soleil shows, add this to your list. The whole program is very family-friendly with enough interaction to keep your kids’ eyes off their cell phones and on the show.

Luzia continues performing at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington under the “grand chapiteau” through May 21. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and there is matinee performances on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m.

Related: More information about Luzia

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia is Coming to Town

Cirque du Soleil's "Luzia" comes to Seattle in March, 2017. (Cirque du Soleil)
Cirque du Soleil is coming back to Seattle to bring the magic and excitement of Luzia – “A waking dream of Mexico” from March 30 – May 21, 2017. Housed inside the white and gold big top, Luzia will set up shop at Marymoor Park in Redmond and even if it is pouring rain on the outside, the sun will be shining bright inside with “a beautifully intricate world suspended somewhere between dreams and reality.”

Tickets for upcoming performances are now available exclusively for Cirque Club members while tickets will open to the public will become available on Friday, November 18, 2016. However, joining the club is easy and free and will provide you with special offers and exclusive behind the scenes information.

If you’ve never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before, it should be added to your bucket list. No matter what show they bring, every seat is a good seat as the lighting and sound are excellent. It will be a visit that you’ll always remember. Here is what circus company has to say about Luzia:

“Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.

“The tableaux of LUZIA weave an intricate, contemporary mosaic that awakens your senses and transports you to a place suspended between dreams and reality. Featuring a cast of 44 performers from diverse artistic backgrounds, LUZIA surprises with acrobatic performances breaking down the barriers, such as integrating water into contemporary circus disciplines.”

Tickets for Luzia can be purchased online and more information can be found there as well. Marymoor Park is located at 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy., NE, Redmond, WA 98052.