In a few short weeks, the iconic blue-and-yellow tent announcing the arrival of Cirque du Soleil and its show "Amaluna" will be raised at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. For fans of anything Cirque du Soleil, they can expect the same lavish costumes and haunting art design that’s made the company’s mix of carnival wonder and artistic high sensibilities a worldwide phenomenon since the mid-'80s. Like all productions that come through DFW, "Amaluna" won’t be here long, running for a limited time Jan. 23 through March 2.
Chris Houston, the artistic director for Cirque du Soleil’s international tour of "Amaluna," has seen every aspect of a traveling show. Houston started his long and varied career as a competitive acrobat, leading him to perform in London’s West End before taking in the warmer climate of Las Vegas to be a part of Celine Dion’s first residency in the tourist hot spot. His experience working on Dion’s show gave him the necessary skills to take on the position of both a dance captain and cast member for various Cirque productions. Throughout the many different shows Houston has assisted Cirque with, there has been one consistency: the hard work needed to pull it off.
“We have a very rigorous rehearsal and training schedule,” Houston says. “We will usually send the artist to train at our head office in Montreal, where they will do specific training for their act, physical conditioning, costume measurements and fittings and also learn our very elaborate makeup. This can be anywhere from four to six weeks. Then the artist will come to site to start specific rehearsals for the show. We will continue with all the work done in Montreal and integrate them into the show in around four weeks.”
What separates Cirque du Soleil from other live productions featuring acrobatic stunts and feats of strength is the unique art design, effectively giving each show its signature fingerprint that sets it apart from the other traveling shows around the world. While not telling a story in the traditional narrative structure of characters facing and overcoming obstacles, each Cirque du Soleil show follows select cast members through a dreamlike expression of emotional discovery. "Amaluna" borrows a heavy influence from what is widely considered William Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest.
“'Amaluna' follows a distinct narrative based on classical literature,” Houston says. "It's a story based on some of the stories of Shakespeare and the Greek classics — only 'Amaluna' tells it through a female lens. We have some very unique acts to Cirque: a Sanddorn Balance act, which is an intricate stick balancing act. We also have Cirque's only uneven bar act, not to mention our completely female band and a cast that is 60 percent female.”
The acts featured in "Amaluna" are a combination of circus favorites with carefully choreographed dance routines. Audiences can expect to see clown acts juggling, acrobats performing on uneven bars, unicycle tricks and much more. The show is family appropriate, and audiences of all ages are encouraged to attend.
“'Amaluna' is a striking show — visually, acrobatically and emotionally,” Houston says. “The show brings the audience on a beautiful journey inside an incredibly intimate environment where you feel so close to the action. Stunning feats of the human body in performance are happening all around you and you will leave the big top completely transformed by the entire evening.”
You can purchase tickets here.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.