Cirque du Soleil came to Fairbanks. The touring show called “Dralion” was at Carlson Center the last few days. The lavish, spectacular production has to be one of the biggest shows to appear in Interior Alaska, with 40 acrobats and performers, five musicians, a production crew and a logistics crew, perhaps 100 people in all. Cirque du Soleil brings its own stage and equipment, and they are nothing less than astonishing.
Cirque du Soleil is big business. Worldwide, it employes some 8,000 people, has some nineteen companies and has been seen by more than 90 million worldwide. It’s spectacle on a grand scale, on a grand stage. The show is a non-stop display of acrobatics, dance, clowns and costumes, performed to live music. Each of the 30 or so Cirque du Soleil shows is different; Dralion, the show brought to Fairbanks, is wrapping up its 15th year and the Alaska tour is its finale.
For WC, the show’s roots go back to the Italian comedia dell’arte of the 16th century. In particular, the three clowns and their routines echoed of commedia dell’arte. Some of the clowns’ routines and interactions with the crowd may have originated back then.
The acrobatics simply knocked your socks off. From the handstand routines at the start,
to the Dancing Dralions,
to the Pas de deux,
the whole show is an elegant, breath-taking stunner. A couple of tips. Sit in front of the stage, not off to the side; while it’s a round stage, several of the acts, and especially the finalé, involve the entire stage and are best appreciated from the front. The acoustics aren’t bad – David Crosby, of Crosby Stills & Nash famously observed it sounded like a hockey rink – but at times the echoes get in the way of the sound.
The tickets aren’t cheap, but the overhead for a huge scale production like this isn’t cheap, either. Highly recommended.