Cirque du Soleil brings joy and jubilation to the Baltics

  • 2013-03-20
  • By TBT Staff

Cirque du Soleil will bring special performances to the Baltics.

RIGA/VILNIUS - “Last year we were very happy to announce the bringing of one of the most beautiful performances ever created by humans to our audience. We introduced Lithuanians to Cirque du Soleil’s performance “Saltimbanco.” This year we are rejoicing even more: we are glad that, having toured all around the world, in slightly over a year since their last visit the show giants are returning with another – acknowledged as their most magnificent piece “Alegria,” which is absolutely different from “Saltimbanco.” The performances, the costumes, the music are completely different...the impressions are completely different, and the experience is new,” said Juras Vezelis, the president of SEVEN Live concert agency.

Taking place in London this year, the conference of event coordinators from around the world had elected “Alegria” as the best show of the year. It is a Cirque du Soleil classic, which has already been seen by over 10 million people around the world since its opening in 1994.
From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents.
A Spanish word for elation, joy and jubilation, “Alegria” features an international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 15 countries. “Alegria” has a baroque and operatic style with flamboyant costumes, original music performed live and an elaborate set that serves to enhance the astonishing spectacle of athleticism and artistry. The result is an impressive mix of skill, strength and speed combined with elegant, almost ethereal performances.

Some of the “Alegria” characters illustrating the baroque era (the black and white performers, old birds, Fleur – the guide to the magical world) wear particularly luxurious costumes, decorated with crochets, feathers and shiny sequins. A costume worn by one of the performers is decorated with 200 jewels, hand-sewn on it. Every one of these costumes is an allusion to the clothes worn by the aristocrats during this epoch in the Versailles or other major European palaces. “Our designers have to match several particularly significant aspects. Costumes not only have to be beautiful and previously unseen, but also very strong and comfortable, allowing the performer to move freely. The fabrics for the costumes and additional details are picked in accordance to the character embodied by every performer and the number performed by them,” reveals Tim Smith, the creative director of “Alegria.”

According to Smith, the costumes for the performers in the middle of the Fire show number are particularly complex. “The guys’ costumes are designed from leather prepared in a certain way, but during the design process it was still attempted to sustain the authenticity of the clothes, because the Fire dance is an ancient ritual dance,” he explains. The costumes of the younger generation (nymphs, angels) also tend to have luxurious color tones, but they are decorated with less ornament and tend to be of lighter colors. These costumes emphasize the dexterity of the characters that will overtake the control of the future. “For example, the ornaments of the nymph costumes – angels’ wings – decorated with blue crystals are made of 4 different kinds of ostrich feathers. Whereas one of the most crucial details of the white angels’ costumes is crafted using the technology designed by the Cirque du Soleil themselves, when special crocheting details and fishing nets are designed to hold a weight of up to 460 kilos,” said Smith. All costumes and its details are carefully prepared, sewn and applied in the circus headquarters in Montreal, where about 300 employees work with the manufacturing of the costumes.

One “Alegria” costume of medium complexity requires about 200 hours of manufacturing, which is more than 8 full days of work without a break. Besides, every one of them is additionally fixed after every performance or even in the middle of it. “Alegria” wardrobe holds over 400 separate costume details, including wigs, shoes and hats. Therefore, the entire performance equipment is accompanied by a massive stock of fabrics, buttons, threads and dyes, besides sewing and washing machines.

“Alegria” showcases breathtaking acrobatics including the dramatically sensuous Synchro Trapeze and the high-energy Aerial High Bars where daring aerialists fly to catchers swinging more than 40 feet above the stage. Imagine two agile performers who bring alive the Mongolian art of contortion and artists manipulating flaming knives around their bodies in the rhythmic and dangerous Fire-Knife Dance. The vibrancy of youth is alive in fast-paced Power Track, a brilliant display of synchronized choreography and tumbling on a trampoline system that is magically revealed under the stage floor. In Russian Bars, artists fly through the air with spectacular somersaults and mid-air twists, landing on 4-inch wide bars perched on the sturdy shoulders of the catchers. “Alegria” is more than a show… it is an exciting and unique experience that will captivate all ages.

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