Alegria-Cirque du Soleil
Alegria is just one of the many Cirque du Soleil traveling performances that delight people of all ages. Alegria is translated as meaning "jubilation". I was fortunate enough to attend the live 2 hour performance of Alegria in February 2003. The performance was nothing short of magical.
I was impressed from the moment we arrived to find large colorful tents strewn across a now-transformed parking lot. There was an air of excitement all around us while we stood in one of the tents where pictures of performers were displayed.
I know you're going to laugh, but even the restroom facilities were impressive. I don't know who owned them, but they spared no expense in getting the nicest available at the time! They were stalls that were mounted on trailers made of shiny chrome metal. The toilets flushed automatically and they had running water faucets at the end to wash your hands. It was all self-contained on this small trailer. It was also ultra clean. They were a far cry from the normal blue or green porta-potties we normally see at events.
The acts include:
- Aerial High Bar- For this act, they have three high bars set up more than 40 feet above the stage with a net suspended below them. The acrobats are suspended by their knees as they catch the other acrobats. There were many gasps from the audience as we watched. Their dismount from the net was equally as impressive. You can see this entire act below.
- Contortion- The Mongolian art of contortion is incredible to watch. You've never seen such flexibility demonstrated all while the performer is being rotated on a table.
- Fire-Knife Dance-This authentic tribal ritual dance is performed with the pulsing rhythm of congo drums by performers who artistically weave their knives around their body.
- Flying Man-This is an elegant demonstration of human strength as the performer flies through the air holding on to long bungee ribbons. The live singing behind him and the other performers moving in precision around the stage is a wonderful experience to watch. I found a video of this part of the program. You can watch it below.
- Hand Balancing-This performer shows impressive control while balancing on varied heights of cane.
- Manipulation-This performer combines rhythmic gymnastics, flexible contortion, juggling and graceful ballet into one act. She uses silver hoops and silk ribbons as she dances.
- Power Track-We sat in awe as we realized the once solid stage had now been transformed into long rows of trampoline even with the floor. It allowed the performers to bounce to incredible heights and tumble and soar over each other in criss-cross patterns. It was almost more than your eyes could take in. It was very visually active.
- Russian Bars-Amazing acrobatic flyers are thrust into the air from a single, double or triple bar that is only 2-6 inches wide that is perched on the shoulders of their catchers. They perform multiple synchronized somersaults and mid-air twists at an unbelievably fast pace.
- Synchronized Trapeze-An acrobatic duo perform spins and breathtaking maneuvers in perfect sync. On the trapeze, these two artists become one; together they defy gravity and create a remarkable harmony.
The Odd Bunch of Characters
Before the performance begin we were entertained by a couple of clowns he made their way through the crowd with fake giant boxes of popcorn pretending to take people's seats.
Once the show started it became evident that clowns are an integral part of the show. According to the Cirque du Soleil website, "The clowns are witnesses to the passing of centuries, the social commentators of Alegría. The clowns reflect the eternal spirit of mankind. They are grounded and realistic, telling little stories of everyday life - where everyone is a hero, where anyone can fall in love and suffer a broken heart. The clowns are visionaries - philosophers of absurdity. Endearing, comical and child-like, they turn the world into a circus."
I couldn't have said that any better. They reminded me of the type of hobo clown Red Skelton was. The Storm scene that you can watch below was an incredibly interactive portion of the show. I don't want to give it away, but what you see happen in that video was every bit as forceful in person.
Fleur reminded me of a circus ringmaster. He carried a lighted scepter and parades around the stage at will. He's almost a sinister character elegantly dressed in a red velvet coachman's jacket, black brimmed hat and jeweled vest that barely covers his grotesquely protruding belly.
Nostalic Old Birds
The nostalgic Old Birds are a group of actors/actresses that act as observors. Their grotesque faces and flamboyant costumes remind you of everyone's grandma or perhaps Maxine. They strut around still convinced that they are all that.
Always available and ever helpful, Tamir is like a magical fairy who appears when he is needed, only to suddenly disappear when he has fulfilled his mission.
The nymphys are youthful characters that are gentile and beautiful as they glide across the stage
The White Singer
The White Singer is the storyteller of the program who echoes in song the world around her. She sings of melancholy, despair, and joy and happiness. Her luminous white gown is exquisite. She has a powerful singing voice. She is the one you hear sing the theme song in the first video below.
The Black Singer
The Black Singer is the White Singer's alter ego. While she too expresses in song the atmosphere of Alegría, there is wickedness about her. In her elegant black dress, which mirrors that of the White Singer.
The Allegria Soundtrack
- The musical score is by René Dupéré
- The sound is designed to evoke the sound of travelling minstrels by using acoustic instruments, including an accordion.
- Currently Alegria is the best-selling Cirque du Soleil album to date.
- It went platinum in Canada and has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.
- Nominated for a Grammy in 1995
- Spent 65 weeks on Billboard's World Music Chart.
I bought this CD a few weeks after seeing that Feb 2003 performance. It was played so much by my kids that it eventually became quite scratched. When my son died in October of the same year, the funeral home asked us to provide a collection of my son's favorite songs to play at the visitation. We found another copy of this CD and it played in a loop all during his visitation.
If you EVER have a chance to see a Cirque du Soleil performance they are worth every penny you pay for the price of admission. It is an experience unlike any other you've ever experienced. The sights, the sounds, and the interactive nature of the performance will forever change how you feel about being truly entertained.
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