That’s what the production of Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion received on Wednesday, 8/15/12, its opening night in Raleigh’s PNC Arena. And it was well deserved. If you do not have plans for this weekend, you should definitely take your family to check out this delightful and critically-acclaimed show.
Dralion mixes components of traditional Chinese acrobatics with modern Western circus. Its name is a fusion of the “dragon,” which symbolizes the east, and the “lion,” which represents the west. And then there’s an additional layer – the four elements of nature and the conflicts and balances between them. It helps that the elements are color-coded: air is blue, water is green, fire is red and earth is ochre. In the world of Dralion cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved.
As with other Cirque du Soleil shows, Dralion is a feast for your senses. First and foremost, the performers were phenomenal. They were athletic, graceful and reminded me of some of the gymnasts in last week’s Olympics — always in control, perfectly synchronized when required. Most the acts are performed with no safety nets or cables, so the timing of their routines has to be perfect. The acrobatics are unique and show off the performers’ incredible talents.
The costumes were stunningly beautiful, eye popping in fact. According to Dralion’s publicist, Julie Desmarais, more than 16,000 feet of fabric were used to create them. The set is amazing as well, especially for a traveling show. It looks like a futuristic Chinese temple and includes a 60’ x 26’ wall that spans the length of the stage. It becomes a central part of the show as the artists climb and suspend themselves from it, performing amazing feats, some of which involve trampolines, where performers are literally bouncing off walls. Ms. Desmarais said it takes 18 semi-trailer trucks to transport the production from city to city.
The music in Dralion is an integral part of the show. The music is performed live at every show by six musicians who play a wide variety of instruments, including the violin, cello, percussions, drums, electric and classical guitars and keyboard. The score is heavy on Eastern rhythms but also pulls from classic rock and new age stylings and complements each act.
Dralion has all of the elements one would expect from a circus: jugglers, trampolines, balancing acts, flying acrobats and clowns, don’t forget the clowns. The Dralion clowns interact with audience throughout the show and keep the audience laughing, young and old alike. Much of their routines are slapstick and vaudeville-like.
I have seen two other Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas (Mystère and “O”) and this one lived up to my expectations. I think it will live up to yours as well.
Dralion runs through Sunday, August 19, at the PNC Arena. For ticket information and show times, please visit: www.cirquedusoleil.com/dralion.