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Cirque du Soleil Toruk Adaptaion of James Cameron's Avatar is STUNNING!

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This is my fourth or fifth Cirque du Soleil show I've seen. They're always visually stunning and highly entertaining. But this one, Toruk, based on James Cameron's movie Avatar, simply blew me away.

Cirque du Soleil's Toruk takes live performance to a new level, integrating the brilliant choreography, gymnastics, puppetry, huge structures, overhead rigging and costumery always associated with Cirque du Soleil with a collection of dazzling digital and light technologies.

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The show offers a story built upon the blue aboriginal people, the Navi, James Cameron created in Avatar. It's a good story which uses the giant flying creature, the leonopterix-- or, in Navi, the Toruk.

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Cirque du Soleil deeply and beautifully taps the rich vein of the characters, culture, nature and world that Cameron created, including the Ewa tree and it's floating seeds, dire wolves, flying banshees and multiple Navi tribes. If you are one of the hundreds of millions of fans of the movie Avatar Cirque's adaptation will satisfy your craving more more of flora and fauna of Pandora and the Navi people and culture.


#cirquedusoleil #toruk #avatar #s7 #igers #tissu #aerialsilks
(Image by Noah Kall)
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James Cameron says that Cirque had a role in inspiring him to do the movie Avatar, so bringing Avatar to Cirque was a matter of going full circle. He describes Toruk as "very immersive, spectacular fun."

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So far, I've simply described the parts of the show. The whole is so much more. Toruk uses digital projection in a way I've never seen before, taking a set that is continuously shapeshifting and overlaying colors, textures and motion that looks amazingly real, like you are immersed in a CGI movie.

The scene in the video above is an example of how the show weaves digital, CGI-like visuals with choreographed acrobatic movement.

The video below shows how the props literally soar close to the audience.

The visuals throughout the show are so scintillating there isn't a single moment when there's a lag in your attention.


One stage, massively transformed by digital projections
(Image by Noah Kall)
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At the bottom of this article you'll find a video of the entire show, shot by a spectator from a front row seat. There's no comparison with being there, in the stadium, where the show literally comes to you, in your seat.


Performers literally three feet from my seat. Talk about immersive experience
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The Saturday night Philadelphia performance was definitely a family event. I saw many children under five years old.


evoking the scene, early in the movie Avatar, when flowers snap closed.
(Image by Noah Kall)
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shimmering beauty, using lights very creatively
(Image by Noah Kall)
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amazing custumery
(Image by Noah Kall)
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extraordinary acrobatics
(Image by Noah Kall)
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One very creative aspect of Cirque's Toruk is the smartphone app they've created in partnership with SAP. It's a very bottom up way to include the audience in literally being a part of the show. When you sign in at the stadium venue you are asked to type in your seat, so the program knows where you are.

Before the show begins, you can use the app to attract lights swarming on the stage in your direction.

Once the show starts, you are prompted, at different times in the show, to hold your phone towards the stage, adding to the lighting effects. Below, you can see a shot of the phone hosting a very bright image of direwolf eyes, while Direwolf puppets-- puppets about eight feet long, operated by people in black-- are on the stage.


Bottom up audience participation-- glowing Direwolf eyes
(Image by Noah Kall)
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Note the puppeteers in black, manning the massive dire wolf puppets
(Image by Noah Kall)
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The Toruk puppet, operated by six puppeteers and at least on rigger, with the 'Toruk Makto' riding the puppet
(Image by Noah Kall)
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If you liked the kind of light display that Longwood Gardens has offered you'll love the experience Toruk provides.

From flickr.com: 'Light' by Bruce Munro -- Longwood Gardens (PA) June 29, 2012 {MID-70531}
'Light' by Bruce Munro -- Longwood Gardens (PA) June 29, 2012
(Image by Ron Cogswell)
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the finale. It's worth zooming in on this one.
(Image by Noah Kall)
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Photos by Noah Kall . (except the closeup of the two blue men)

 

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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