Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

Circus of the Sun

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Last night I finally got to see a Cirque du Soleil show, something that had been on my mind for something like a year. Dralion is supposed to be a harmonious meeting of Eastern and Western circus traditions, but for a first-timer this theme was insignificant compared to the overall style of performance. I only had a vague idea of what to expect: some extravagant blend of theatrics, visual effects and evocative music, with a theme most harmonious with my predilections. Fate, the elemental domains, eternity, all personified in a circus setting with some Asian flavor? Why yes, that would be something I might be interested in.

So I tried to keep an open mind, avoid raising my expectations and completely ignore the price of the ticket. This was probably a terrific idea, for I would (with some hesitation) call it the best show I’ve ever seen. Of course it’s pretty much impossible to compare this to various other contenders, but I can certainly say that I was drawn into the performance to such a degree that the so-called real world ceased to exist. The acrobatics were truly astounding, easily as convincing as the Olympics as a display of the limits of human performance. But even more so was I enraptured by the way the performers’ bodies seemed to be simple tools, moving and bending in whatever way their imagination dictated. Even the clowns that reared their absurd heads in between the acrobatic acts ended up growing on me (despite the annoying interruption of grandeur), for they served as a reminder of the tragicomedy of the play we call life.

Gravity has no dominion in the realm of Oceane

I won’t attempt to cover all the magnificent acts, but a single example might be in order: the image above is a ~15m wall footed by massive trampolines, receiving and re-launching the garishly clad minions of Water in their joyful dynamics. Up and down they’d go, with flips and spins taking them between the trampolines, little ledges on the wall and even to the top of the wall itself. It was amazing that they were able to arrest their horizontal motion after leaping off the top or from one trampoline to another, but the truly impressive part was the visual effect  that came when they started using the wall as footing. Watching them running, stopping and posing up the height of the wall one began to forget about the the floor and trampolines, and even though one’s seat served as a reminder that space itself hadn’t just shifted 90 degrees, you could almost convince yourself that at least the stage had undergone such a transmutation.

The Warrior (or, in the creators’ interpretation, the force behind the wheels of eternity)

All in all it was entirely “wow”, although it probably needs the right frame of mind to fully enjoy. And a craving for adventure, for ‘elsewhere’, for magic, lights and shadows certainly wouldn’t be out of place either.


Written by Martin

2012/08/25 at 20:56

Posted in Events

2 Responses

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  1. I first saw their first ever show and truthfully i felt the same really well put!


    2012/08/25 at 21:30

  2. […] I hadn’t raised my expectations very high, which probably saved me from disappointment once again. It’s a pretty good aquarium, with a decent number of tanks, good layout and nice […]

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