Cirque du Soleil: Totem and Lord of the Dance

By Laurie Scarborough

At the end of August I boarded a plane to Australia for five months, so we decided I should chronicle my theatre experiences in the Land Down Under.

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The first show I watched after my arrival was the world-famous Cirque du Soleil. And wow what a show. The circus troupe tours the world frequently with several shows and the one that came to Australian shores is called “Totem”.

The acts were so varied. There were pate throwing acts on unicycles, aerial artists, comedy skits, gymnastics, contortionists, acrobatics, and the list could go on.

One of the standout  features of the show though was the costuming. The bright, colourful costumes added to the acts perfectly.

Another highlight of Cirque du Soleil is always the live music. The circus has their own composer who creates an original score for each show and a live band is on stage to perform along with the circus performers.

A scene from Lord Of The Dance, Dangerous Games by Michael Flatley @ London Palladium (Opening 2-09-14) ©Tristram Kenton 08/14 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

The second show I saw was the Lord of the Dance. The show originates with Michael Flatley in 1990s when he decided to throw out Irish dance traditions such as static arms and create a more performance-orientated dance extravaganza.

The show has changed quite a lot since the original show debuted, one of the biggest changes of course being the Michael Flatley is no longer cast as the Lord of the Dance. His replacement though was phenomenal. In fact, all the dancers were. There was also a new score to accompany the dancers.

While there were times when the female dancers’ choreography didn’t leave much for them to show off, being a bit simplistic and juvenile, when the hard shoes came on, however, they kept up with men with ease.

The highlight of the show was the hard shoe dancing. All 30 dancers on stage were exactly in sync, with their feet moving like lightning across the stage. I spent quite a while trying to work out how they were making such clear and loud taps with their shoes and eventually came to the conclusion that their shoes must have mics attached.

If this show tours to South Africa I would recommend giving it a watch, if only for the amazing hard shoe portions. It really was unbelievable.

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