Expect the unexpected!
The new Cirque du Soleil show TORUK – The First Flight inspired by the film Avatar and developed in collaboration with director James Cameron premiered in Boston on December 11, 2015. In this post we would like to lift the curtain on the show itself, tell you about our first impression and unravel the history of the most famous circus in the world that keeps making audiences believe that anything is possible.
By Katie N. @bambinnio
December 12, 2015
Ever since I was 2 years old, circus has been my favorite thing in the world. As a kid, I loved clowns because they were funny, the live music, the animals performing tricks, but what I loved most was aerial acrobatics. I was fascinated by the flexibility of human body and how seamlessly the acrobats were performing their amazing stunts. Years later, after having seen my very first Cirque du Soleil show, I finally decided to try myself out in the world of aerial acrobatics. I haven’t become the circus star, but now I can truly appreciate the back breaking flexibility and insane feats of balance, that can only be achieved through extremely hard work and dedication to the art of circus.
In 2009 I saw Cirque’s Corteo and was blown away by the abilities of human body and technology integration. The performers were incredible, the music was beautiful, the whole experience was absolutely mind blowing. Since then I haven’t missed any of the Cirque’s shows. I would go to see every new show in Boston and whenever I go to Las Vegas and every time it’s a new incredible story, talented acrobats, more sophisticated technology behind the scenes.
TORUK is no exception! Nevertheless, it’s different from all the previous Cirque du Soleil shows. And here is why. James Cameron himself participated in the production of this show.
It depicts the world, namely planet Pandora, before the events depicted in Avatar 2 (movie release date is December 25, 2017). TORUK is the central character of the show, and is brought to life as a huge puppet flying around the arena along with other Pandoran animals. The production is more theatrical, it sticks to the storyline with the narrator helping the audience follow the events of the show.
In previous Cirque’s shows the storyline was somewhat fuzzy and less important than the atmosphere created by the costumes, acrobats and decorations. It was circus first and foremost. TORUK has more theater in it: you won’t see as many aerial tricks and stunts, however, you will find yourself completely immersed in the world of Pandora and its inhabitants.
Everything seems surreal and very genuine at the same time: trees lighting up by themselves and magical flowers, the Pandorians (Are they people at all? Or you guys really brought them from another planet?), weird creatures moving along with the music. It’s like the whole Avatar world just became real and you were part of it.
How It All Started
The story of the famous Cirque du Soleil began in a suburb of Montreal, when a troubled 14-year-old boy ran away from home. Later, he learned how to breathe fire and was a street performer in Great Britain and France. By the age of 20 he was back in Canada, living in the artists colony of Baie-Saint-Paul. It was where Cirque du Soleil was first founded by a small group of performers.
The beautiful story of Cirque du Soleil emerged from a pretty gloomy childhood of that boy. His name is Guy Laliberté. He wrote the autobiography that was never published. Why? According to the Laliberté’s own words, it’s not “family-friendly”.
Cirque du Soleil’s concept was largely borrowed from the “cirque nouveau” movement originated in France in the 1970s. However, in North America, Cirque has become a revelation for the public with its breakthrough first show. The founders did not follow the rules of the traditional American circus. Cirque banished animals. Well, of course except for Homo Sapiens. The humans working at Cirque came from nowhere: they didn’t have names, audience didn’t know them (fame was banned along with the animals). What they had was beautiful, strong, flexible bodies.
In the next couple of years, Cirque produced several touring shows. In 1993, the company created its first permanent theatrical production in Las Vegas. It was Mystère, which you can still see at Treasure Island. In 1998, the spectacular O was opened at Bellagio in Las Vegas, which was then the most expensive hotel in the world.
Two months later, the Cirque’s show La Nouba premiered in Orlando, Florida.
All three of these productions have been bringing lots of profit ever since.
As Cirque got rich, the production used increasingly better technology to create more outlandish theatrical effects. Incredible O is staged in a 1.5 million-gallon water tank, with the submerged machinery, invisible to the audience, adjusting the pool’s depth from 24 feet to a few inches in a matter of seconds.
The audience has no idea how it happens when pair of clowns walk across the surface at the very spot where, a second earlier, a high diver had plunged into the water. Starting with O, Cirque became as well known for incredible effects as it was for its performers’ unbelievable physical dexterity.
Cirque du Soleil expanded rapidly through the 1990s and 2000s, having produced 31 shows in over 271 cities on every continent except Antarctica.
Naturally, Cirque du Soleil hires only the best masters in the art of circus. At the auditions, the performers are asked to impress the jury with their unique skills and artistic potential and given the chance to discover the skills they never knew they had!
You can become the member of the Club Cirque and receive the news about Cirque du Soleil’s new shows as well as ticket discounts. That’s how I always know when the next show is coming out.
Expect the unexpected!