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Thursday, January 6, 2011


Cirque reinvents the circus experience
'Alegria' coming to Broomfield's 1stBank Center Jan. 19-23
MAGICAL PEFORMANCE: ?A scene from Cirque du Soleil s Alegria, which comes to the 1stBank Center Jan. 19-23. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil ( danieldesmarais.com )
By Dylan Otto Krider Enterprise Staff Writer
01/06/2011
Cirque du Soleil is about as much a circus as Penn and Teller are about pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Its stylish show is a complete re-imagining of the circus, as if the creators simply scrapped everything people thought they knew about the circus and re-built it from the ground up. Some of the elements that have kept the circus around this long remain, but whatever genetics Cirque shares with Barnum & Bailey are barely recognizable. Cirque du Soleil has evolved into an entirely different species. More than 25 years after a couple of street performers founded the Canadian company, Cirque still manages to instill in audiences the sense of something they`ve never seen before.
"Ninety-nine percent of the audience walks away saying two things: 'I`ve never seen anything like that before,` and 'Where did they find those people?," said Tim Smith, artistic director of one of Cirque`s most successful and longest running shows, "Alegria," which comes to the 1stBank Center in Broomfield on Jan. 19.

HOT SHOW COMING TO TOWN: A scene from Cirque du Soleil s Alegria, which comes to the 1stBank Center Jan. 19-23. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil ( danieldesmarais.com )
The performers are pulled from acrobatic and circus groups from around the world: French street performers, Chinese acrobats and Russian gymnasts. Having run Broadway shows for 15 years, Cirque is a bit different from what Smith is used to.
"When I run a meeting, I`m translated into two or three languages," he said.
One of the ways Cirque du Soleil has managed to stay fresh and relevant is it is constantly creating. Smith said founders Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier, always had their ear to the
ground for fads and waves of the future, which they bring to audiences years in advance, while a lot of entertainment companies that stumble on a successful formula concentrate on keeping and maintaining it. "It`s nice for artists to get a position like that," said Smith, who joined the production eight months ago.
"Alegria" (meaning jubilation in Spanish) continues to change as well. Rather than the enigmatic travelling big top, "Alegria" has been converted into an arena show that can now perform in places like the 1stBank Center.
"It looks exactly the same, only redesigned to move faster, so people in Witchita can see it," Smith said.
"Alegria" artistic assistant, Sheryl-Lynne Valensky, told the Houston Press the show was partly inspired by the creation of the Internet.
"The explosion of change and the opportunity to do things in a new way inspired us to come up with the concept. Like the Internet knows no bounds, the same is the case with Cirque Du Soleil 'Alegria.` You never know what to expect when you step into our world."
The theme, fittingly, regards the old guard making room for the new. The Nostalgic Old Birds who reside in the castle are empty shells who admire their reflections in empty mirror frames. The Bronx are the young rebels who are out to overthrow the old order.
This circus has clowns, but not like any people are accustomed to seeing. Even the trapeze act is taken to another level, including the same death-defying feats, but choreographed into a dance. The show features, contemporary costumes, sets like something seen on the Great White Way and the kind of lighting one expects to find at a rock concert.
"It looks like and smells like the circus, but it`s definitely not," Smith said.

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