Cirque breaks the ice in Penticton By David Wylie

Photo credit: Matt Beard / Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt / 2017 Cirque du Soleil

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Crystal is Cirque du Soleil like you’ve never seen it before.

It’s the first ever Cirque show to take place on ice.

“The idea of creating a show on ice was present in the core of Cirque – the opportunities just didn’t align,” said Julie Desmarais from Cirque Du Soleil.

Until now.

This is the 42nd creation from the troupe, and it’s in Penticton for five days at the South Okanagan Events Centre (April 18-22).

The show combines synchronized skating, speed skating, and extreme skating alongside traditional circus acts like swinging trapeze, aerial traps and hand-to-hand aerobatics.

Crystal is also the first Cirque show, outside of musical tributes, to feature well-known pop music throughout the performance.

“The songs connect with the audience and are part of the story,” said Desmarais. “They’re songs they know.”

The plot follows Crystal, a misfit who at the beginning of the production falls through the ice into an imaginary world. She is torn between her alter-ego (which is pulling her deeper) and her reflection (which pulling her out).

Sia’s hit Chandelier is featured, as well as Beyonce’s Halo and U2’s Beautiful Day.

“It was a decision of the creation team to choose the songs … to make sure they reflected what was going on in the storyline and what Crystal was going through in that moment of the journey,” said Desmarais.

Along with the remastered hits, live music is part of the production to add to the cinematic soundtrack of the show. Three musicians perform live on stage, playing violin, guitar, wind instruments, piano and accordion.

A special wardrobe is required for Cirque’s performers as they are “pushing the boundaries.” Adapting to the slippery surface meant developing special shoes and gloves to help performers gain stability on the ice. They are constantly being tweaked to better perform; the shoes, for example, are currently on their 22nd prototype.

Desmarais said it’s hard for her to pick one single highlight of the show that is her favourite. She said that seeing the crowd react when performers interact with them during the intermission certainly stands out.

The show has been well received by critics and audiences.

Tickets are available at the SOEC’s website.

http://www.soec.ca/event/cirque-du-soleil-crystal-april-18-22

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