Published on March 31st, 2014 | by Greg
Amaluna: An Entrancing Cirque Show, Now In New York City
Cirque du Soleil has become a cornerstone of modern performance art, combining high fashion and conceptual arts with technical wizardry, music and lighting and costumes, plus some of the best ‘circus’ performers in the world. It’s a tough act to follow each show, as they need to continually up the bar that they set, finding new ways to impress and new skills to celebrate. While you can, we’d certainly suggest checking out one of the newest Cirque touring shows, now performing in New York City at Citi Field.
Cirque’s Amaluna runs until May 18th, with daily shows except for Mondays (and two performances on Saturdays and Sundays). Set on an island, with a definite female-empowerment feel and more than a few stellar acts, it combines everything we love about Cirque and manages to delight all ages though never quite achieves the spectacular moments of their best shows (‘O’ for example). The theme is certainly one of the strongest parts, and costumes unusually so- everywhere you look glitters and glimmers and surprises, with tribal influences and plenty of peacock feathers.
At the recent premiere, as is traditional, there was a short intermission between the two acts. Amaluna begins and ends in a most bewitching way- the random, sensual motions of a dancing piece of fabric. The specially-controlled fans were visible, or it would have seemed like pure magic. But the curtain falls away and the show really begins with “water meteors”, a classic sort of spinning ball and balancing/tumbling act. The following act felt a little out of place, dispelling the magic a bit and trying too hard, as a duo called Storm danced in air using straps. The music was jarring here (and once or twice elsewhere), a heavy metal vibe that was at sharp odds to much of the tone of the show. Afterwards, we’re introduced to the narrative core, main characters, and a pair of romantic angles to the story- a shipwrecked sailor along with a goofy sort-of-pirate who also finds love and serves as a comedy relief/clown in the classic Commedia dell’arte tradition. The peacock dance was lovely, but it was the Cerceau and Waterbowl that grabbed out attention again firmly, answering a lingering question as to how the mysterious bowl be utilized. We won’t spoil it, but it’s a beautiful climax to act one, as the next act, the Uneven Bars led to the end of the this section.
After the break, Amaluna kicked off strong with a very manly Teeterboard act, with flying men raining down from the skies. You’ve probably seen something similar, but not like this. And you certainly haven’t witnessed anything quite like the ‘manipulation’ act, balance goddess Lili Chao who held the audience rapt for minutes while assembling an enormous sculpture piece by piece, lifting with her feet and balancing it all together all to simply sounds of ethereal breating. The Chinese Pole act was alright, but the juggling was impressive- we’re pretty cynical about juggling, having seen some great performances even in Washington Square Park and yet Viktor Kee was much more than he seemed at first sight. The last act was a bit of a letdown, but the grand finale was suitably boisterous, a strong finish to a show that was occasionally eye-popping and quite often surprising. It’s not the most beautiful or funniest of their productions- though there is some surprisingly adult humor that hopefully goes over the heads of kids- but Cirque knows how to dazzle and does so capably in the fairly intimate Amaluna. Tickets on sale now, starting at around $50, with many special packages and options available.