Growing up, my family had a connection to Ringling Brothers Circus. This meant that every time it passed through New York, we got to go. But although I have always been a fiend for performance and costumes and stagecraft and animals, the circus never really wowed me. The annual trips backstage left me weirdly unmoved. Yes, I wasn’t unhappy to be there, but let’s just say I was never inspired to run away and join the circus.
Fast forward to Alegria, my very first Cirque du Soleil show. In sharp contrast to my underwhelming childhood circus memories, I have sense memories of sitting through the entire spectacle with my jaw on the floor. The performances, the design, the costumes, the music, and THAT SINGER all completely blew me away. It is one of the great tragedies of my life that by then, I was a bit too long in the tooth to run away and join the circus.
So here is my beloved Cirque du Soleil, in all their glory. Their later shows may have had more spectacle, but though I have loved them, too, none got under my skin to the same degree that Alegria did.
Here is a video of the entire show, though I suspect it’s one of those that the rightful owners will swoop in and take down, so if you’re interested, I recommend you watch it sooner rather than later. If you enjoy it, it’s part of a playlist I have up on YouTube with all the full-length Cirque du Soleil recordings I could find. That ought to keep us out of trouble for a bit!
And of course, I had to go hunting for behind-the-scenes stuff. Enjoy!
Okay, I couldn’t resist one more. This is from another of their shows, Quidam, and it’s really stuck with me all these years. It was the first time I’d ever seen anyone perform on the silks, and it is still one of the most gorgeous (and crotchiest) things I’ve ever seen on stage.