Thursday, July 28, 2011
Photos and review: Cirque du Soleil: Dralion
We've seen Cirque do it better, but it's still worth your watch.
FRISCO Slow to start but worth the wait, Cirque du Soleil: Dralion is at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco through Sunday. Performed on the floor of the arena's would-be ice rink, Dralion features acrobats, hoop divers, and jugglers with slightly less glitz and glamour than past Cirque themes.
Dralion is a word that fuses “dragon” and “lion,” and the concept is to unite the East and the West. The show contains four main characters: fire, air, earth, and water, plus a Little Buddha who showed up here and there. The concept seems intriguing, but the storyline didn't develop into an understandable plot. While the performances, especially in the second half, were awe-inspiring, it was more a recital than a story.
The performance began, as many Cirque's do, with comic relief. Dralion's in-between acts are clowns who pretend they can perform feats of athleticism just as adeptly as the talented cast. (See them in the photo gallery below.) Played by Mike Hugues, Juan Carlos Bratoz, and Facundo Gimenez, the clowns' antics evoked audible squeals of delight from the youngsters among us. For the adults, the comedy went on a little long.
The best Act 1 performance was juggler Vladislav Myagkostupov. He twisted, spun, and somersaulted while tossing more than a half-dozen balls high into the air. Each motion was done with incredible precision, and never did he drop one or miss a cue. We felt relieved: Finally, that's what we came to see.
Act 1 finished with a performance by the dralions, which were two-person dragons that shook their rumps and reared their colorful heads as they walked perfectly in sync. By the end of the performance, two dragons (that's four people, eight legs) hoisted themselves up on top of large rolling balls and did tricks. It was a promising way to end Act 1, though we still wanted more.
After a long intermission, the next five acts (save the clown in-between acts) were the stuff we knew Cirque was made of. Starting with bright-blue clad contortionists, the performance segued into an aerial hoop dancer who kept the audience's attention rapt with her sensual moves. Soaring high on the ring, held by only her neck or ankle at one point, Marie-Eve Bisson flipped and flew with one of the best performances of the night.
Sets were intermittently interrupted by flashes of white light, blinding the audience and leaving some of us wiping at our eyes. Perhaps the flickers were meant to intensify the audience, but it instead lit up the room just enough to remind us that we were, in fact, in a hockey arena.
That was quickly forgotten for the aerial pas de deux, a romantic dance between Amanda Orozco and Lorant Markocsany in which they flew high in the air on silks. The love story was as astonishing as it was athletic: At one point, Orozco spun from the top of the silk to the floor and into Markocsany's embrace.
When a group of acrobats flipped and flew through sets of golden hoops next, the audience for the first time was prodded to compliment them for their work. They dove into different sized circles, some not much wider than themselves, without knocking over the flimsy structures. Each performer would pose after a job well done, egging us on to cheer. And cheer we did.
The same performers finished the show with an energetic jump rope routine. Some hopped into a double dutch jumprope and then pulled out their own bright yellow rope to hop to, essentially skipping over three ropes, all to a perfect beat. A pyramid of acrobats three levels high finished the jump rope performance and topped off the night.
Dralion didn't live up to the incredible storyline or performances of January's Ovo (also performed in Frisco), but we were still enthralled. First-time Cirque watchers will love this performance.
- Cirque du Soleil: Kooza is most daring circus show in Dallas recently
- Review: Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour at American Airlines Center (June 26)
- UPDATED: Michael Jackson themed Cirque du Soleil comes to Dallas in June
- Review and photos: Cirque du Soleil: Quidam at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco
- Cirque du Soleil returns to Frisco's Dr Pepper Arena, this time for Quidam
- UPDATED: Police located missing 20-year-old Frisco woman
- Restaurant review: Kenny's Smoke House takes a refined approach to barbecue
- DFW's second East Hampton Sandwich Co. to open at Shops at Legacy
- UPDATED: Collin College in Frisco reopens after three bomb threats
- Photos: Get more bang for your buck in this "cozy" Frisco abode