Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cirque du Soleil Crystal at the Moda Center Review #CirqueduSoleil #Crystal

I received two tickets free to facilitate this review.

If you haven't seen Cirque du Soleil you should definitely see at least one of their shows when it comes close to your town. Cirque du Soleil, French for Circus of the Sun, is a Canadian entertainment company that features an acrobatic all human circus. It was founded in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix. It now has 20 productions worldwide in over in over 400 cities, in 60 countries, on 6 continents. These shows are comprised of live musicians, theatrical performers, acrobats, clowns, gymnasts, jugglers, etc.

Cirque du Soleil Crystal is a brand new show that is touring around the globe. Right now Crystal is showing at the Moda Center in Portland Oregon from April 4-8. This is Cirque du Soleil's first ever show on ice which pushes the limits of the performances even further! World class ice skaters along with acrobats do never before seen stunts on their new frozen environment. You will see figure skaters, pair skaters, freelance skaters, and solo skaters all doing what they love and sometimes even more on the ice. Both acrobats and ice skaters had to learn some of each others skills to perform this show.

Crystal is a show about a girl, also named Crystal (played by Nobahar Dadui), that after being ridiculed by her family and friends tries to escape to an icy pond to skate only to fall through the thin ice. As she descends further into the frozen depths she goes into a cold induced dream state and this pushes her into her own self-discovery. In her dream state we see her discovering a newfound ability - writing - and blossoming with her use of it. She explores the new talent and seems to find her voice with both pen and typewriter through the power of her own words.

My husband and I got some pictures taken in front of Cirque backdrops.

My Thoughts:
This was mine and my husband's very first Cirque du Soleil show. We went together to the Moda Center on opening day. We arrived and got our tickets from the box office. There was pretty much no line and it we easily got into the vendor area before finding our seats. We were a little early so we took a bit of time getting some pictures taken in front of the fun backdrops that were provided. Then we found our seats and waited for the show to start.

The pre-show before the first scene was lighthearted and fun. One of Cirque's clowns has a snowball fight with some of the audience. His antics are quite amusing and make us laugh. Also some of the skaters warmed up on the ice doing a few tricks and interacting as if they were on a outdoor ice rink. A live band made up of a violin, guitar, accordion, wind instruments, and tambourine/bells was also playing music nearby the ice. We were glad that we showed up early just to catch this.

The set and ice arena before the program started.

The set was amazing all by itself. It had a kind of ice castle looking structure in the background. I noticed a small train on top that choo-choos by subtly in the beginning of the pre-show. This building structure serves as Crystal's "home" in the show as well as entry and exit points for performers. It also has ramps that looked like skateboard ramps down it on both sides. The ice rink arena came out from this in a half-oval in front. At first they had large metal trees, a park bench that they could sit and put on their skates, and a metal trash can with designs carved out of it that glowed from the inside. The "stage" changed from scene to scene, not only with different props being brought on and off by choreographed performers, but also through intricate lighting that projected onto both the ice surface and facade of the building.

Camilo Motta and Stepan Grytsay play with the music.

The music was fantastic too. Maxim Lepage’s klezmer-infused score is wonderful! The live band playing some along with some parts of the music was a very nice addition. I particularly savored Stepan Grytsay and his violin! He was fabulous! There were different types of music throughout depending upon the mood and theme. They also incorporate some covers of some familiar pop songs that appropriately help set the mood. I especially loved the second act Aerial Strap Pas de Deux routine that was done to Beyoncé's "Halo".

Act One, Tempest Scene: Falling through the ice.

Each scene was told by Crystal's perspective. Act one starts out with Crystal getting chastised by her family, feeling very alone, isolated, and misunderstood she runs off to the ice. The ice fractures and engulfs her. I love the way they show this scene. The cracks and gaping hole are projected onto the ice and when Crystal falls in she is whisked away and lifted into water and bubbles projected onto the building facade. Even though she is actually being brought into the air with tethers, Crystal looks as though she is being drawn into the depths of the water.

Act One, A Day in the Life Scene: flashbacks.

Then we see her watching her life: at home, at school, at play, and in the city flash before her in a distorted, disconnected way. She finally takes control of her self and catches up to her reflection (Madeline Stammen) which helps her navigate through her dream world. I like this scene because of the spinning and twirling of the two together on skates, in instances mirroring one another. Next Crystal finds her talent and celebrates with the juggler, Jorge Petit, in a scene that is high spirited and a lot of fun.

Act One, Reflection Scene.

Act One, Home Swing Scene: Swinging Trapeze.

After this there was a scene with swinging trapeze that I couldn't get over because Crystal was still wearing her ice skates while swinging, flinging her body out up so high, and hanging upside down from it. She was attached with a tether, but no net was below. It was awe inspiring!

Act One, School Playground Scene: Hockey Ramps

I also loved the speed skating hockey players doing crazy jumps, flips, twists, and twirls off of ramps. Then act one was over and it was intermission and we took a break from sitting and bought some mint chocolate Dippin' Dots out in the foyer.

Intermission: We bought some Dippin' Dots ice cream.

Act Two, Poles Scene

In act two we saw the big city in Crystal's imagination. There are a maze of transparent panels that are brought out onto the ice that Crystal skates through to catch up with her alter-ego reflection. Some of the Cirque performers do a pole act that is brand new to Cirque. They swing their bodies around them, jumping from pole to pole, and dismounting with flair. In this act there is also a tap dance on ice skates that I think is pretty impressive. The tap dancers have mics in their skates which amplify the sound while dancing. The fast paced typewriter scene is very well choreographed. I love how they incorporate the sound of the typing with the music.

Act Two, At the Office Scene: Chair balancing act.

There was a dramatic scene with acrobat, Lkhagva-Ochir, that stacks one chair after the other high on a platform and then he does hand stands, balancing on them from the very top.

Act Two, Courtship/Ballroom Scene: Glowing Grand Piano

They also brought out a glowing grand piano that Crystal skated upon while it was played and rolled across the ice. A gorgeous, romantic ballroom scene is after this that features Jérôme Sordillon doing Aerial Strap Pas de Deux with Crystal.

Act Two, Ballroom: Aerial Strap Pas de Deux.

Then the reflection returns and Crystal finally comes to reality. The contortionist, Emily McCarthy, performs the breathtaking hand-to-trapeze number with Jack Atherton making us gasp as he takes her and balances her on just his feet or flips her up into the air from his grasp to catch the trapeze once again. She is seemingly pulled to the surface by his hand. Crystal finally breaks through the ice and finds her breath. She is met with her family and people in the community. At the conclusion of the show Crystal skates the words "The End", the projected lines that form the letters follow her skates while she skates across the rink.

The End written in the ice.

This show was exquisite! I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend you seeing it. I am so glad to have been able to share this experience with my husband. It was a much needed date away from everything. I hope to be able to see other Cirque du Soleil shows when they come to town.

Crystal Video:

  • What: Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal”
  • When: Opens 7:30 pm Wednesday, April 4, and continues 7:30 pm April 5-8, at 4 pm April 7, and at 1:30 and 5 pm April 8. 
  • Where: Portland Oregon, Rose Quarter, Moda Center, 1 Center Court.
  • Tickets and information: $40-$130,


DISCLOSURE/DISCLAIMER: I received two tickets for free to facilitate this review. My thoughts are mine and my family's own opinion and have not been altered by anyone else. I did not receive any other compensation for doing this review. Affiliate links can be found in this post. Thank you for your support of this blog!

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