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, opened -- under Cirque's trademark blue and yellow Big Top -- at the Pacific Bell Park Parking Lot in San Francisco, Feb. 3 and was recently extended to March 26. Tickets went onsale Oct. 24, 1999 for the show, which was originally scheduled to end March 19.
"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 Francisco 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.
For tickets and information on Dralion in San Francisco call (800)678-5440. The show will next come to San Jose, April 6-May 21. -- By David Lefkowitz