Chinese circus techniques meet the avant-garde in the latest from Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian-based, animal-free circus experience that has brought such shows as "Quidam" to New York and "O" to Las Vegas. "Dralion," directed by former Cirque artistic director Guy Caron, recently played an extended run in San Francisco and now ends its scheduled run, May 21, in San Jose, CA. Performances began April 6 and take place, as ever, under Cirque's trademark blue and yellow Big Top. Next stop will be Denver, CO.
"Suspended in time between the past and the future," reads the company press release, "`Dralion' is a celebration of life and the four elements that maintain the natural order: air, water, fire and earth." In more practical terms, the set includes an aluminum structure with three rings on it: one (called "the sun"), serves for acrobatics, another is a catwalk and the third contains a large lantern. Costumes use four colors corresponding to the four elements: blue (air), green (water), red (fire) and ochre (earth).
As with all Cirque shows, music -- generally a cross between new age and world music -- is a key element. Here, themes will be borrowed from such cultures as Africa, Europe and India. The performers will also be multicultural, including talents from such countries as Brazil, Bulgaria, Ivory Coast and the Ukraine.
The San Jose arrival of Dralion continues a three-year USA/Canada tour of the show, which will eventually reach New York, as well as Montreal, Houston, Chicago, Dallas and Santa Monica. The show premiered in Toronto in July 1999.
For tickets and information on Dralion in San Jose call (800) 678 5440. -- By David Lefkowitz