As the rain beats down on a grey steel city, an explosion of colour brightens the Motorpoint arena. Over 1500 costume pieces arrive in two trucks along with performers from 19 countries for the world famous Cirque Du Soleil’s first UK tour of Dralion.
Fusing traditional Chinese acrobatics with a western circus theme, the Dragon and the Lion form Dralion, the title of the show. Highly skilled performers displayed their super-human abilities following a theme of the four elements, air, water, fire and earth, with costumes to represent each one, ensuring our eyes would not leave the set.
I had my hand over my mouth in disbelief as I gazed at the perfectly choreographed routines of seemingly impossible acrobatics . I had to remind myself these artists were real human beings. Hours and hours of disciplined training were clearly spent in order to polish their routines into flawless masterpieces for us to enjoy, and that’s exactly what the audience did. We gasped and ah’d and wowed in awe of their skills and were glued to our seats for the whole show.
From its humble beginnings as a handful of street performers in 1984, the Canadian entertainment company now cherry picks the very best of performers from all over the world. Each one brings a different skill to the shows from juggling to acrobatics and trampolining. Cirque Du Soleil push the limits of each act to become the best at their game.
The show opens with a clown overture. Audience participation was unavoidable and the whole arena was cheered by the display. A blast of colour from the lively intro moved us on to the first point of disbelief - the hand balancing act. The graceful way in which Diminuer Kadier used one arm to hold her entire body weight and perform upside-down gymnastics was both beautiful and amazing. Her sheer strength was apparent as she held her position for the entire piece. Vladimir Prestov made me lose count of the vast amount of balls he was able to juggle, although that could have been because I began concentrating on his body-popping dance moves throughout the act. Even more impressive was Jonathan Morin’s crossed wheel. He used his entire, perfectly sculpted body, to maneuver the steel spheres across the stage which resembled da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man sketch. The entertainment was endless as we watched trampolinists walking walls, aerial spinning hoop displays - so fast she almost appeared invisible, and sexy diablo dancing. My personal favourite was the aerial pas de deux. Entwined in silk cloths, the duet performed an aerial love scene while gliding round the set, pure poetry and beautifully performed.
The live band built up the tension perfectly for acts, and the singer, Ame Force’s voice was hauntingly beautiful to compliment each of the themes running through the show. I would recommend anyone experience one of the shows while it tours the UK, however it only remains at the Motorpoint Arena here in Sheffield until Sunday 18th May so don’t miss out.