Tags: adagio, banquine, cirque du soleil, dralion, dual trapeze, fangirl, hoop-diving, juggling, review, trampoline
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Yep, I went to Cirque du Soleil’s show Dralion tonight. If you don’t know what that is, aren’t prepared to look it up and don’t know why I might be almost beyond coherence right now, then get the hell out of my blog!
So, I was looking forward to Dralion almost as much as I’d looked forward to Quidam, which is for me the standard-setter of Cirque shows. I’d seen Dralion on TV years ago, when I was still in high school, and always considered it to have the most consecutive good acts. (Most of the other shows are a bit patchy. As my mother said to me, ‘Once you’ve seen one person doing aerial contortions in silks, you’ve seen them all.’) I also like the music of Dralion, the grand operatic sweeping vistas-ness of it. Here’s an example, with the old singers. The look of the show, the story (which is the story of the Earth, based on interplay between the four elements, and time, all represented by dancers) is just perfect, too.
So what about the acts themselves? Here is where I’m not sure it is a good idea to know the show off by heart before seeing it live.
The first act was hand-balancing. Not a great, ‘with-a-bang’ start, but competent. The performer is brilliantly talented, it is incredibly difficult to do what she’s doing, but I’ve just seen so much hand-balancing already. Luckily, the show picked up the energy with the next act, which was a bunch of guys twirling, tumbling over and juggling Chinese poles. Incredible music, it got the heart thumping, in preparation for the heart-stopping trampoline act, where acrobats bounced off trampolines to run up 10-metre-high walls, leaping from one trampoline to another. No wires, one crash mat, 20 guys spotting on the floor below. Curt barks of ‘Going’ to alert their fellow acrobats of their movements. Don’t try this at home, kids. This is where the title of this post comes from – the annoying guy sitting next to Mimi, exclaiming ‘Aww, what?!?!’ every time the performers did something particularly gravity-defying. The juggling act was brilliant, although now that the amazing Victor Kee has left, it’s lost some of its punch, but I can still remember the day Mimi and I spent analysing it as a text about the end of innocence and growth of maturity, and so it has a warm place in my heart. I know it off by heart, to the extent that when one of the SURCAS guys at Sydney Uni did a juggling act at a Theatre Sports Grand Final, I recognised it as the Dralion act.
Then there was the final act of Act I. Duo Trapeze. Dear God, I can’t even write about this one, I’m reduced to a gibbering mess at its down-smiting awesomeness. So why don’t I show you?
INTERMISSION: During which time our three intrepid heroines reminisced about old Cirque shows, established that if working on the principle that babies see everything from their mothers’ uterus, all three have all seen exactly the same number of Cirque shows, since Le Cirque Réinventé was viewed when the mother of the three was pregnant with her second daughter.
So, the second act opened with a lengthy and moving song by the male singer, and then segued into the aerial pas de deux…er, pas de une??? Where was the male acrobat? This is what I mean when I say that it’s a bad thing to know the show off by heart – you notice mistakes and absences. But it was a ‘messing about with silks’ act, not one of ‘mine’, so I didn’t care too much. The singing was still beautiful, although a bit out of place…all those ‘mi amores’? In the absence of her partner, what was the acrobat’s ‘amore’? The silk?
Then there was the ballet dancing on lightbulbs. This is the kind of act where Cirque shines: take an ancient circus classic (in this case, adagio) and then add a crazy, mind-bendingly incongruous addition (in this case, put the bases in ballet shoes, and have the whole thing take place on lightbulbs). Beautiful.
The act with the dralions and ball-balancing was good, apart from a few misshaps, and the hoop-diving act was out of this world. However, sometimes I wish I didn’t watch so closely (I like to see all the technical, ‘behind the scenes’ stuff, like which performer is calling the act, who is spotting whom, how the performers keep each other aware of their movements), as I saw one acrobat completely baulk at his leap through the (rotating) hoops, and the Gaya dancer have to dance out while the hoops made a full rotation and got back to the original, baulking acrobat. But God, the energy of that act was insane! I wanted to leap up and dance. They had us all clapping and screaming and cheering along with the music.
As Mum said, it might’ve been better to end with this act. The finale, a skipping-rope act, was great, but it lacked that breathtaking, heartbreaking beauty that had characterised the hoop-diving.
Interspersed through all this was some amazing clowning, definitely top quality. I’m not a huge fan of clowns, and normally feel like they’re something to put up with before getting back to the point of the show, but these guys were great. I can’t say much more without writing a massive spoiler, so I’ll shut up, but trust me, the clowns were cool.
Overall, I’d say Dralion had some great acts. The trampolining, hoops, lightbulb ballet (because I’m an adagio fangirl) and dual trapeze made my heart sing, dip, dive, dance, and stop beating altogether. The look and sound of the show was amazing. The opening dance between the four elements, with the soaring, ethereal singing, actually made me cry. (Not my first tears at a Cirque show. I cried when I saw Banquine in Quidam. It just says everything about life in five amazing minutes.) I loved its hopeful, ‘we’re-all-in-this-together’ message. It’s not Quidam. It won’t top Quidam. But it’ll feed my Cirque addiction for another year, and that is enough.
Dralion March 31, 2008Posted by dolorosa12 in cirque du soleil, fangirl.
Tags: cirque du soleil, dralion, fangirl
Cirque du Soleil’s show Dralion is coming to Australia. Now, everyone knows that I’m the most Cirque-obsessed girl this side of Quebec, but this calls for major celebrations. Cirque usually brings one show to Australia every two-and-a-half years. But their show Varekai was only here last year! I worked for them, about this time last year, in Canberra. (Tragically, that was a month-long fangirl moment for me. No, I’m not ashamed.)
Ticket sales opened today, and we’ve already bought ours. We’ll be going the day that Mimi gets back from Splendour in the Grass, but, you know, how could she resist Cirque’s awesomenss?
Oh, I’m going to have so much fun!