The famous circus brings its Dralion show to Dubai.We check it out
There are no elephants or bears on tricycles at this circus, but after almost 30 years, Cirque du Soleil is pretty sure they don’t need them.
‘Cirque du Soleil is definitely not an ordinary circus,’ says performer Adriana Pegueroles. ‘The artists are working together for a common goal: the show as a whole to be a success. All the efforts Cirque has put into staging, creating, pushing the limits further and further, have made it what it is known for today,’ she says. Launching in Dubai on Wednesday February 6 and running for 11 days, the Dralion show fuses ancient Chinese circus tradition with Cirque du Soleil’s modern approach.
‘Dralion is one of Cirque du Soleil’s biggest productions,’ saysTina Geru, the media drector for Dubai organiser Alchemy. ‘It reunites eastern and western culture, breaking it down into four life elements and bringing nature and humans together.’ The show’s popularity speaks for itself. ‘The demand for tickets in Dubai gave us no choice but to extend the number of shows by half,’ says Gu.
Started in the ’80s in Quebec, Canada, Cirque wanted to do something different, to redefine what was meant by ‘circus’, bringing together traditional acrobatic performances with busking and audience participation. They set out to bring together circus arts and street performances from around the world on one stage. Today, Cirque has 19 shows that have performed on every continent except Antarctica, including a permanent venue in Las Vegas.
‘Cirque du Soleil is the ultimate artistic expression through acrobatics, singing and dancing. I came from Argentina to be part of a show where I could express my unique talent performing a traditional Argentinean dance,’ says Pegueroles, who performs in the Saltimbanco show. ‘Cirque is the ideal place to express yourself artistically, a place where talents shine and where you can express yourself as an artist.’
Their shows tend to be complex, multi-character extravaganzas, creating vivid – if occasionally esoteric – worlds for the audience to leap into. With artists allowed free range of expression, it’s pure art, and sometimes gets a little weird.
‘You shouldn’t come to the show trying to understand a story. You should let yourself absorbed by what you will see onstage.’ That’s where a Cirque show differs from other productions, be they dance, acrobatics, or music.
The story does exist, but it’s really not the whole point.
‘A conventional Cirque audience reacts with laughs, tears, wonder and awe. No audience member leaves untouched or unmoved,’ says one of Cirque du Soleil’s current artistic directors Neelanthi Vadivel.
‘It is amazing to realise what the human body can do,’ says Pegueroles.
While watching Cirque performers contort themselves into impossible movements and poses, we’ve always wondered how they first realised they were destined for the circus. ‘I’d imagine it is the first day you scratch your ear with your toe!’ says Vadivel. ‘I was a professional contemporary dancer, who ran away with the circus and never looked back!’ she says.
So did Pegueroles.‘We are not all contortionists; I’m a dancer and percussionist sharing Argentinian traditional dance with the rest of the world. I’m privileged to be able to do that,’ she says. ‘All my life I waited for this perfect place where I could dance and share my talent with others. I love touching people by expressing emotions on the stage.’
But a tremendous amount of hard work goes into it. ‘There is a careful balancing act involved in managing 50 artists through the challenges of touring life, while instilling in them the pride and inspiration inherent in a world-renowned brand and an emblematic 20-year-old show,’ says Vadivel. ‘Training is a serious business that entails many safety measures and efficient preparations. But fun is an important part of it all, and we would not be here if we didn’t love what we do. Of course, the more salacious stories will have to remain confidential!’ Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion show runs February 6-17 at Dubai World Trade Centre, 6pm-8.30pm and 10pm-12.30am. Dhs295 silver, Dhs495 gold, Dhs1,295 platinum, Dhs2,295 royal. www.cirquedusoleil.com.
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Becky Feb 15, 2013 06:15 am
I went to Cirque du Soleil last night and have to say i found it amazing although you do have to get there VERY early to get a decent seat, thankfully which i did. perhaps they should manage the queues more efficiently though, as the queue for the silver seats stretched back a good 400 metres from the doors leading. Overall though i enjoyed the show and thought that the acts were exremely impressive.
Sharon Divan Feb 14, 2013 12:20 pm
My problem with the show was not so much the show itself but the fact that despite people being told (via an SMS I got) that doors would close 15 mins before the show, we had people walk in over 15 mins after the show had started and then stand in the aisles blocking our view for a good 4-5 minutes before they figured out that the row did not have enough seats for the group and then move up one step and do the same thing. The same thing happened after the interval - everyone coming in once the show had resumed and you can imagine the pandamoniam in them finding thier seats in the dark. In a show like this, fixed seating might be the way to go and shut the doors when you say you are going to!!!!!
Nicola Feb 14, 2013 09:55 am
I have to agree with Sandy. The lack of planning for this show is only matched by the boredom factor of watching it. The unfunniest clowns in the world.
Why make people queue for so long to get in? Then queue for coupons? Then queue for food? And to add further insult have way too few toilet facilities?
Not as if with the prices charged they could have spent some more money on the planning and facilities.
Sandy Feb 12, 2013 08:53 am
Dralion was the worst Cirque de soleil shows I have been to. I am a fan of Cirque de soleil shows and never missed even one event since it started in UAE. However Dralion by far is the weakest of them all. Only 2 acts are worth mentioning and that also comes at the very end; in the whole 2 hr borathon . The clown act was lacking humor to say the least with most part of it overdone.
Not to mention that you have to be sitting in S2 and in the lower rows or else you won't be able to see properly.
And yes the food stall outside has outrageous pricing and bad taste. Imagine five thousand people crammed in that arena..By the time the show starts you are 50% drained of energy and by interval you are done. The seats are very hard and your back and buttocks start hurting after 20 mins.
carolyn Feb 09, 2013 08:05 am
note to anyone going to see Cirque de Soleil - make sure book seats in the front facing block S2 or G2, AND ensure you get there VERY early to find a good seat, there are massive support rigging pillars at front of the stage on both sides that completely block about 30% of the total audience seated in the sides. I speak from experience - of what I saw it was an amazing show - shame of the 2 hours I (and everyone around me) could only see about 20mins of it! approx 5000 people there, probably 1000 people would say the same. Never seen such bad stage design in my life! Great artists though!