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Life Arts    H3'ed 12/9/11

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

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Aerial silk artist (detail)
Aerial silk artist (detail)
(Image by cirquedusoleil.com)
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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
10 Quidam trailers
(Image 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.
Shoes are repainted after every performance.
(Image 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)
German wheel artistry (detail)
(Image by cirquedusoleil.com)
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German wheel rehearsal.

German wheel rehearsal, time exposure
German wheel rehearsal, time exposure
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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The aerial contortionist performs on a vast length of red silk hanging from the top of the venue, evoking symbolism of the Greek goddess Ariadne's red thread, and seemed emblematic of the cycles of life and birth.

Red Silk Contortionist (detail)
Red Silk Contortionist (detail)
(Image by cirquedusoleil.com)
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Aerial hoops, red silk, and other equipment were suspended from an intricate lace-like apparatus that arched above the stage

Suspended hoop
Suspended hoop
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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The aerial hoops in rehearsal:

Rehearsal with hoops, time exposure
Rehearsal with hoops, time exposure
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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The aerial hoops in performance:

In performance: the aerial hoops. (detail)
In performance: the aerial hoops. (detail)
(Image by cirquedusoleil.com)
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In an astounding performance entitled "Statues," two acrobats move slowly and intently from one powerful position of masculine/feminine balance to another, awakening the sense of spiritual beauty that creating that kind of balance within can produce.

Balancing act of the sexes portrayed in
Balancing act of the sexes portrayed in 'Statue' (detail)
(Image by cirquedusoleil.com)
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Quidam, like the Occupy movement, stirs and inspires the onlooker while showcasing the essence of being human on the eternal quest for excellence. Watching these extraordinary activities engages the whole being and makes one proud to be a part of humanity.

Hoop artist in action, time exposure, artist enhanced.
Hoop artist in action, time exposure, artist enhanced.
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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Quidam is playing at the Hampton Coliseum (VA) through Sunday Dec. 11. 

It will open in Wooster, MA, on Dec. 14.

Preview the show:

 

 

RESOURCES

Cirque Du Soleil's Quidam Site: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/quidam Accessed Dec. 8, 2011

The Wiki:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quidam Accessed Dec. 8, 2011

 

Cirque du Soleil's Quidam (detail)
Cirque du Soleil's Quidam (detail)
(Image by cirquedusoleil.com)
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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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