When I was kid my parent’s took me to Circus Vargas and there was a certain thrill being under the big top. It’s such a unique experience that is becoming increasingly rare in American culture. But one company does strive to keep the big top alive and well,Cirque du Soleil, and last week I was lucky enough to be invited to their latest show – Amaluna.
Amaluna is a a mythical love story currently playing under the big top at the Los Angeles waterfront. It tells the tale of a young woman coming of age who meets a mysterious young man and falls in love only to find that outside entities are conspiring against the couple and threatening their burgeoning happiness.
That is the plot but, as in most Cirque du Soleil products, it’s hardly the forefront of the show. instead it serves as a backdrop to the incredible acts performed by the troupe’s highly skilled performers.
When I watch a Cirque show I’m awed, inspired and embarrassed by own lack of skills. I know it’s cliched but “how do they do it???” I get winded after climbing a few flights of stairs. How can these performers twist and turn and fly and leap and climb and cycle and…make it look so darn easy!
Amaluna features an array of outstanding performances from unicyclists to acrobats to aerialists working with a range of equipment from teeterboards to uneven bars. Each astounding task is completed with ease and not one mistake was made throughout the entire show. Not even when one of the troupes completed a 4 person human tower!
But the most astonishing act was one that seemed deceptively simple. Returning from intermission we found the stage littered with a pile of giant twigs. As the lights dimmed and the music swelled Lara Jacobs came out and started to balance the twigs in an abstract pattern. It was slow, methodical and utterly mesmerizing. Through breath control and a whole load of patience she formed seemingly incongruous pieces into a giant pattern and balanced them over her head. One false move and they could tumble down in an instant but she was so in control the act was performed perfectly.
That’s what I love about Cirque du Soleil – the fantastic artistry of the performers. I could care less about the plot-lines and the music (while expertly performed) isn’t my cup of tea but the performances are simply astounding. They’re a true testament to the power of the human body and I’m awed by the expertise and athleticism of the Cirque performers. To witness their skill firsthand head to San Pedro for Amaluna. It runs through May 26 and tickets are available here.