It was way back in the winters of 2009 that I first visited skyline beautiful; Hong Kong. Expansive lifestyle, sumptuous looking food joints and the ultra modern shopping malls, they all stood out on every corner as I drove towards my hotel that was on the Wyndham Streets.
With no real plan I intended to spend all of my three-day tour in Hong Kong and places around, however, I was suggested otherwise by a few local people that I came across. Their advice – a must watch live musical performance by Cirque Du Soleil, at Hotel Venetian, Macau!
Hesitant but also anxious, I grabbed a ferry next morning and set off to Macau that is on the western side of the Pearl River Delta to experience something that was to have a ever-lasting impression on my memory.
Cirque du Soleil originated in 1984, when a group of Montreal fire-eaters, stilt-walkers and juggling street performers joined forces to create one entity that had everything for the viewers. Over the years, the Cirque group grew, creating new shows, themes and added extra zip to it as it spread to new cities and countries.
With a vision to concentrate on extraordinary talents of performers, in assembling a show, the Cirque crew gathers diverse talent from all over the world and brings all the performers together forming a cohesive unit. Whether it’s a on-the-road show like Alegria or Varekai or a resident show like “O” or “Love” in LA, all Cirque shows are built around two core elements: a unique theme and a unique soundtrack.
The show that I saw was titled – ZAIA; a Greek name meaning “life” and also is evocative of “Gala” the living spirit of earth. ZAIA is the dream of a young girl who travels into space on a strange, yet familiar voyage of self-discovery. As she travels, she encounters the beauty of humanity and eventually brings it back with her, to share with the inhabitants of earth. This 90 minute production brings together 75 highly talented artists from all four corners of the globe.
Though the show consists of about 10-12 acts, here are three of them that I loved watching the most.
Under a panoply of ladders slung high above the stage, acrobats perform an act that merges aerial disciplines in a mixture of styles inspired by North Korean acts. To achieve this, four stations are equipped with suspended swivel chairs to hold porters who catch and release the artists flying in both directions. Timing is crucial when flyers perform pirouettes with spectacular spins from one station to the next.
Aerial Straps Duo
In this act, a pair of artists uses aerial straps to evoke their nascent passion, sometimes using a single strap for synchronized movements, sometimes a double strap to perform an aerial ballet of seduction, finesse and elegance. If you are lucky to get a seat in the first row, then you can see the chemistry up-close between the boy and girl that makes you spell-bound.
Hand To Hand– Two acrobats evoke the love of the original couple by performing a hand to hand act full of charm and sensuality. The two artists create impressive figures and seemingly impossible feats of balance that requires absolute mastery and control.
Innovative Approach to Circus Arts
One of the defining features of Cirque du Soleil is its departure from the traditional circus model. Unlike conventional circuses that focus primarily on animal acts and clowns, Cirque du Soleil emphasizes human performance, artistic expression, and narrative storytelling. The incorporation of elaborate sets, original music compositions, and cutting-edge technology has elevated the company’s productions to a level of sophistication rarely seen in the world of circus arts.
The Grand Spectacles
Cirque du Soleil’s meteoric rise to fame can be attributed to its series of grand spectacles that pushed creative boundaries and set new standards for live entertainment. Some of the most iconic productions include:
- “Saltimbanco” (1992): A celebration of urban life, “Saltimbanco” showcased a diverse cast of characters and explored themes of transformation and self-discovery.
- “Alegria” (1994): This production delved into the universal themes of power and the individual’s quest for change, set against a backdrop of mesmerizing visuals and high-energy performances.
- “O” (1998): Housed at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, “O” reimagined the concept of a water-themed show, incorporating synchronized swimming, diving, and breathtaking aquatic effects.
- “Corteo” (2005): A whimsical exploration of a clown’s vibrant imagination, “Corteo” enchanted audiences with its dreamlike sequences and gravity-defying acts.
Global Phenomenon and Legacy
Cirque du Soleil’s innovative approach and commitment to artistic excellence have earned it a dedicated global following. With multiple touring productions, permanent residencies in major cities, and collaborations with renowned artists, the company has showcased its unique brand of entertainment to millions of spectators around the world.
As I walked out of the arena, I thanked no-one but myself to have heard the suggestions of the local people to watch this show, for missing, it would have been a crime for sure.
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One of my friends once said, I am in love with words and a zoned out poser... well, I will keep it the way it has been said! Besides that you can call me a compulsive poet, wanna-be painter and an amateur photographer