Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Disney Behind the Scenes Day 3

Last night we attended the Cirque du Soleil performance entitled LaNouBa at Disney Downtown, in a structure designed for their show -- a tall bowl-shaped building with a 10 story tall stage for aerial acts. It seats 1,671 guests and the stage has 1250 theatrical lighting instruments capable of delivering over a half-million watts of light on stage. According to their website, “La Nouba” means “to party, to live it up.” It is a world where dreams and reality intertwine as the urban and circus worlds meet on stage.

Cinque du Soleil is French for “circus of the sun” because it is the sun that provides all energy on Earth. There are 16 troupes performing indoors or in traveling tents across the world, but this is the only troupe using its own building, designed to mimic a tent...

The cast of 67, including seven musicians, represent 14 countries.

It was a marvelous show featuring non-stop action by acrobats, gymnasts, dancers, and aerialists, often with several things occurring at once and all at such a frenetic pace that the audience feels like it needs to catch its breath. At one point, all 60 performers were onstage together. My favorite segments included the two high wire artists; the nine trapeze performers working four trapeze bars on two levels; two bikers -- one BMX and one mountain bike (recruited from the X-Games) -- that danced, jumped, wheelied, and twirled around the stage; a pair of acrobats inside two man-sized German wheels large wheels, spinning gyrating, rolling, bouncing; five acrobats ascending and flying on the silk curtains; four young Chinese girls (ages 8 to 13) who were masters of the Chinese Yo-Yo or Diablo; and a grand finale with 18 trampolinists on two traditional trampolines as well as two runway-like tramps (called power tracks) built into the stage. And it was all choreographed to live vocals and music by a six member band that plays 22 different instruments during the show. Interspersed throughout were appearances by a pair of clown-mimes whose delightful comic relief kept us laughing. We were not allowed to take photos of course.

Then this morning we returned to Cirque du Soleil for a “behind the scenes” visit (no photos allowed) and learned of the history and philosophy of the business and toured the control room, shoe and prop room, costume area, green room, dressing room, backstage areas, fitness room, under the stage pit area where the five elevator/lift sections of the stage disappear to, and even out onto the round stage (so shaped in homage to the circus.) After the tour, we got to try the Diablos or Chinese Yo-Yos, but smaller versions (perhaps 1/10th size) than those the Chinese girls used in the show. We were able to get them spinning on the rope, but tossing and catching them was not successful and we got an even better appreciation for what the young kids were able to do last night. Here's Ellen ...

Behind the Scenes -- Day 1

Behind the Scenes -- Day 2

Behind the Scenes -- Day 4

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