Making the Grades
What do Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Ivory Coast, Ukraine, and the United States have in common? They are the countries of origin for the 54 artists comprising the cast of Dralion, the Cirque du Soleil's (Circus of the Sun) latest show.
This international troupe combines the talents of its strong Chinese acrobatic core, with traditional circus acts, theater, music, and dance, in a performance that is both ancient and avant-garde. If you thought a circus was about sawdust and lion tamers, think again.
First of all, Cirque du Soleil has no animals (unless you count the people in the Chinese dragon costumes). Nor does the futuristic set and theatrical lighting look anything like three rings. But from the moment the introductory dancers take the stage, representing the four elements (air, earth, water and fire), you are captive to this high energy performance which includes balancing on one hand atop a ten-foot pole, catapulting young women into the air so they can stack themselves six people high, arranging hoops for young men to leap and dive through, tip-toeing on light bulbs, while supporting two people on your shoulders, and the more familiar double trapeze act.
Even ordinary juggling becomes extraordinary. Wearing nothing but a flesh colored body suit, with some carefully positioned painted on muscle definition, this man uses his whole body to keep up to seven balls in motion. And you should see what they can do with a jump rope!
No circus would be complete without clowns. But don't expect them to be the red-nosed floppy-eared variety. Their unique blend of humor allows you to catch your breath between death-defying feats. I have only one question. How do you practice stunts like that, and live to be good enough to perform them?
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Cirque du Soleil: Dralion.
What might happen to an untrained individual who tried to copy these act in real life? Did you notice that these professional performers wore safety cables? Does that make the skills they displayed any less incredible?
The Cirque du Soleil donates 1% of its potential ticket sales to an outreach program helping youth at risk. They offer these young people from cities around the world, workshops in circus arts. For more information about their commitment to this cause, check out the “around the world” section of their official website: www.cirquedusoleil.com