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Friday, March 4, 2011

Cirque show can morph over time
Friday, Mar. 04, 2011
After months of hype, Cirque du Soleil fans are finally getting a peek at "Totem," the new production that just landed in Charlotte after a couple of successful runs in Europe.
But the "Totem" we see this month might not be the same "Totem" we'd see if it returns to town a few years from now.
As the show's artistic director, Melanie Lalande works closely with writer/director Robert Lepage and her team of 11 support staffers to tirelessly look for "new ideas to help further develop the show ... from looking at lighting, music, the acts, costuming, just anything artistically that has to do with the quality and integrity of the show. That's my job, to sort of keep it to the high standards of Cirque."
Based on Lalande's feedback, the show could undergo anything from changes in tiny details to major revisions - up to adding, eliminating, or rearranging acts.
"It just depends on the situation and the point you are in the show's life," she says. After shows are created, "they're set to go on tour in a big top for about 12 years, and then they go on to an arena for another six years. So they're created with the idea that they'll live to be about 18 years old traveling the world, and there's quite some changes that one could go through (over time)."
Lalande, 36, has been with Cirque for three years; previously, she ran her own dance company in the Washington, D.C., area. "Totem" is the second show Lalande has worked on for the company, after "Kooza" (currently playing in Tokyo).
Though the George Mason University School of Dance graduate's performing days are mostly behind her, she still cops to being tempted by the prospect of trying some of Cirque's more exciting stunts.
"Circus arts are crazy. I watch them and I'm like, 'These people are crazy,'" Lalande says. "But (a couple of acts) - like the Wheel of Death in 'Kooza,' for instance - it's very appealing and you do want to try." Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/03/04/2108704/cirque-show-can-morph-over-time.html#ixzz1Fcd3YHDl

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