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Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion features feats of strength and flights of fancy

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If you think you are in shape, go to Cirque du Soleil’s production of Dralion at the Enmax Centre and be properly  humbled as I was on opening night, Dec. 17.

Dralions (Dragons and Lions)  show their balance. Photo by Richard Amery
 A fleet footed, international cast displayed beautifully intricate dance moves, careening, trampolining, leaping , acrobatics,  contortionists,  elaborate costumes and a lot more. There is a story involving the Four Elements — Fire (Yao) Dante Adela, Air (Azala) played by Kami-Lynne de Bruin, Earth Little Buddha and the Four Elements. Photo by Richard Amery(Gaia) played by Dioman Gbou, Water (Oceane) Tara Catherine Pandeya, Kála played by Jonathan Morin and Little Buddha played Marina Vorobyeva who appears on stage throughout the show, performs with the trampolinists and tries out hoop diving with a highly co-ordinated Chinese acrobats leaping in, around and through a variety of different sized hoops.

 The show opens with a trio of crazy clowns (Hayden Spencer, Michael Hughes, Facundo Gimenez)  who bring  “a member of the audience” on stage to play with them in an array of hilarious bits of frolic and physical comedy. The lead clown looked like Back to the Future’s Doc Brown with wild and crazy white hair.
The show draws a lot from the traditional Chinese circus tradition which focus on feats of human strength, coordination, flexibility and lots of endurance.

In addition to  being impressively athletic, it is downright beautiful.
 The athletes/ performers have impeccable balance and definitely don’t have a fear of heights. They hang from ribbons and hoops hung high above the Enmax Centre floor, they defy gravity and death itself, at least for the uncoordinated.

Cirque Du Soleil’s acrobats. Photo by Richard Amery
 One performer, Marie- Éve Bisson, hung from a hoop just by the nape of her neck and that was just one of the more amazing performances, which is saying something about the quality of the show. I don’t know how one person can contort themselves like that.

She hung from the hoop with almost every part of her body, spinning around and around upside down. It pretty much gave me vertigo just watching it . A duo — Tarek  Ramino and Kami Lynne Bruin performed sexy gravity -defying moves on a pair of straps.

 Probably the most impressive part of the first half of the show was the trampoline act.

Not only did the trampolinists leap from the top of a veritable skyscraper set on stage onto trampolines set far below and onto a variety of platforms attached to the wall and across the stage to another trampoline, but they literally walked up the walls to the top of the stage.

 They also featuCirque Du Soleil’s  trampolinists walk on walls. Photo by Richard Ameryred a juggler who  did all kinds of tricks with nine white balls dropped by one of the aerialists hanging upside down from a ribbon hanging from the rafters.

 All the while they had a crack band hidden behind the stage, though you could see them through the smoke who played a mix of far eastern and deep western music including a variety of pop and dance. They even played bagpipes  for one number near the end. The second act features the operatic vocal stylings of   Agnes Sohier and Cristian Zabala.

 The first act ends with  the shows namesake- Dralions — a combination of dragons and lions ( I just got that myself). They perform  traditional  Chinese Lion dance and balance on balls as acrobats leap over top of the writhing creatures.

Acrobats leap over the Dralions. photo by Richard Amery
The second act is all about acrobats. It includes  the hoop divers, Diabolos, the aerial Pas de Deux who hang from straps and skippers who   perform and impressive feat of acrobatics , skipping and juggling as they bounce spools up and down and play catch with them with their ropes.

 It also features the clowns, who apparently ascend to the galaxy after one of them beats himself to death with his bulbous belly before beating  about his compatriot with it.

These performers are ripped, sinewy and super athletic. They make me wish I didn’t trip over my own feel almost daily or at the least make me want to do a few sit ups (then I remember sit ups are hard) , lest I get beaten to death by my owDralion’s crazy clowns razy clowns Hayden Spencer, Michael Hughes, Facundo Gimenez. Photo by Richard Ameryn beer belly like one of the clowns in Dralion. Go catch it if you can. The show will be retired after this  performance.

Dralion runs until Dec. 21 at the Enmax at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 -20 as well as at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 20 plus 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 21.
 Tickets cost from $35 to $120 for adults;  $28 to $103 for children and $31.50 to $76.50 for military, seniors & students.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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