Earlier this week, my parents called me up and asked if I wanted to go to Cirque du Soleil with them.
Of course I would.
My mom wanted me to bring Sydney, but after much hemming and hawing I decided not to. The show was, after all, 2 1/2 hours long. And it seemed to me--with ticket prices around $70 up to $135--that perhaps this was not the time to see how well my toddler would sit still. I think it was a good decision. In a few years, she will really enjoy it. But my own opinion is that it's not exactly suited for small children. I did see a little baby there, and a child probably the same age as Sydney. Quiet, angelic children, I suppose. Unlike my own sweet babe.
Awhile back I saw a PBS documentary on the creative process for Varekai (the name of this particular Cirque show), and I was quite intrigued. They are one talented bunch of people. And the idea behind it--capturing the story of Icarus after he falls from the sun--was lovely. I didn't plan on going to see the show, but now I'm interested in actually going to see it again up in Seattle. It's that breathtaking.
Oh, the show. It was phenomenal. Amazing. The show takes place in a big top tent, where even the back row has a good view of the stage (we were in the back, but still centered; the side views were probably not quite as good).The stage was equipped with hydraulics and trap doors and above the stage was another entrance/exit through the tent.
And even though the story line was quite interesting, the real draw of the show is the performers. These people amazed me even more than Olympic athletes. There were the foot jugglers who tossed each other around and flipped and flew and twisted and twirled, all while catching each other with--or landing on--feet. And then there was the contortionist trapeze artist who could touch her toes...by bending them backward over her head. She was literally folded in half the wrong way. She'd balance on a tiny little block, she'd hang from a hoop from her ankles. I could do Pilates twice a day for the rest of my life and not even come close to being as flexible as this lady was. To top it all off, she had a real figure, with curves and everything. Some of those gymnast types are a bit plain looking as far as their figure is concerned. But this woman...definitely not a little girl. Nice to see a performer who indulges in carbs.
One thing that struck me was that I'm sure most of these performers have been doing this their whole life. Their families were in the circus, or a relative of some sort. They grow up around this, they train for this, it is what they do. I doubt a person could turn 18 and just decide to start training. You have to discipline your body from a very young age.
This is not discipline that would appeal to very many American kids. Heck, it may not appeal to very many Eastern European kids (which is where I think most of the performers were from), but they do it. Their dedication to art is in itself a form of art. Quite inspiring.
If you ever have a chance to go see a Cirque du Soleil show, I highly recommend it. It is a visual and kinesthetic treat.