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Quidam Occupies: Cirque du Soleil's Revival is in Step with the Times

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Cirque du Soleil's Quidam is currently touring the US, and the timing with the political climate could not be more perfect.

The title of the show, which premiered in 1996, refers to everyone, yet no one in particular, and could be an anonymous passer-by, or   "a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past ... One who cries out, sings and dreams within us all," according to Cirque du Soleil.

Quidam sounds suspiciously like the 99 percent.

And in the surreal, dream-like world that Quidam spins, viewers are treated to a banquet of symbolism that would make Freud sit up and take notice: death to the old and birth of the new, imprisonment and release, the balance of the masculine and feminine, the yearning for creative excitement, the quest for meaning, empowering self.

Cirque du Soleil says, " This is the "quidam' whom this show allows to speak. This is the place that beckons--a place for dreaming and genuine relations where all quidams, by proclaiming their individuality, can finally emerge from anonymity."

The international cast of Quidam features 52 artists: acrobats, musicians, singers, and characters. Ten semis filled with equipment take the crew only 12 hours to unload and set up, ready to rehearse.

10 Quidam trailers by Meryl Ann Butler

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The exotic music, composed by Canada's Benoit Jutras, is surreal and evocative, infusing the atmosphere of the show with its pungent flavor.

Dominique Lemieux designed the dreamlike costumes for Quidam, inspired by surrealists Rene Magritte and Paul Delvaux.

There are 2500 costumes in the show, including triplicates of each performer's main costume pieces: two are in their dressing room, in case of a rip or other costume malfunction, and in dire emergencies a third is waiting in the costume department.

Shoes need to be repainted after each performance, and all wigs must be cleaned and re-styled.

Shoes are repainted after every performance. by Meryl Ann Butler

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The skilled performing artists offer a combination of acrobatic skills and traditional circus acts.

German Wheel performance.

German wheel artistry (detail) by

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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