Super Cool & Captivating Crystal by Cirque du Soleil Sent Chills Through The Crowd During Their First Night In Windsor, Ontario
Québec-based Cirque du Soleil, has evolved into an international world class artistic production company that has pushed the limits even further than before with their new show Crystal. This daring first-ever fusion of elite circus acrobats and stunning ice skating kept the audience on the edge of their seat at The WFCU Centre in Windsor on January 3, 2018.
The audience oohed, aahed, clapped and cheered throughout the performance featuring risky on ice and in air stunts combined with beautiful choreography, creative costumes, emotion stirring music, great lighting and image projections on the ice surface, stimulating scenes, and Crystal’s misfit storyline.
The show begins with the main character Crystal, a daydreamer who feels like a misunderstood misfit, skating on a frozen pond. The thin ice cracks and Crystal falls into an exciting world created by her lively imagination. Crystal envisions her reflection as an alter ego living the life of her dreams. Ultimately the reflection wakes Crystal up to her own genius and creativity. This gives Crystal the courage to break through the ice and to the surface emerging more confident than before. Sometimes discovering one’s individuality and uniqueness requires venturing out on thin ice.
The first half of the show was enjoyable with the intensity picking up during the last two scenes, the Home Swing and School Playground / Hockey scenes.
The Home Swing scene during Act I is a first for Cirque du Soleil when Crystal flips, spins, and performs reverse skills high in the air on the flying trapeze while wearing skates!
Earlier in the day Cirque took Eyes On Windsor on a behind the scenes tour during rehearsals. We actually had a chance to watch the Home Swing rehearsal. “Performing on the trapeze is Danica Gagnon-Plamondon who plays one of the Crystals (Crystal and her reflections make up several characters),” explained Julie Desmarais, publicist at Cirque du Soleil. Danica was not in costume, the lighting and music were not on at the time either. However, during evening performance the combination of costumes, lighting, projected images on the ice, music, and cast joining Danica made the scene really stand out.
Beautiful images including grass, sidewalks, roads, and a blue sky were projected onto the ice. A violinist played live complimenting a pre-recorded version of the pop song Chandelier by Sia (redone and sung by a Quebec artist). This is the first time that Cirque du Soleil has incorporated pop songs into their shows. The crowd went silent when Crystal momentarily left the trapeze, spun high in mid-air and then remounted it.
The next and final scene of the first half of the show featured a school playground and hockey game. This was by far the most fast pace scene of the first half and perhaps the entire show. The hockey players end up speeding all around the rink as they hit ramps and flew through the air. The high risk scene had the audience on the edge of their seats with delight!
Show managers paused the show to fix a technical glitch more that half way through the second half. However, the the audience was patient. In fact, we didn’t hear any heckling or see anyone decide to leave the show early. Instead, it felt as if the crowd eagerly anticipated more of the performance while understanding the importance of ensuring the casts’ safety.
“We are 89 people in total on the tour. There are 40 performers, 24 technicians involved with sound, lighting, rigging, automation, video, carpentry, logistics too because we transport the equipment from from city to city using 17 semi-trucks, and we also have a support team, tour management and an artistic director,” explained Julie Desmarais, earlier in the day while on our backstage tour of rehearsals. Clearly putting the show together involves a lot of attention to detail and making sure many facets of the show fit together seamlessly and safely.
The second act delighted the audience with a fun glass maze scene, a “nail biting” balancing act atop dozens of chairs stacked in a tower, an entertaining tap dancing scene, a ballroom scene which involves a spell binding straps routine that whisks Crystal off her skates and into the air, and a swinging poles performance. The swinging poles act, another first at Cirque du Soleil, combined syncro pole work, pole-to-pole jumps, and impressive Russian swing-style dismounts.
The show concluded with an exhilarating mix of synchro skating featuring the entire cast creating a giant classic ice skating show pinwheel, a version of U2’s It’s A Beautiful Day and a standing ovation by the crowd.
Crystal by Cirque du Soleil runs in Windsor at the WFCU Centre through Sunday, January 7th before heading out to their next stop in Detroit. For a complete listing of tour dates and locations visit : https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Photos by Brent Groh / Eyes On Windsor
Brent Groh of Milestone Photography Studio often goes on assignment to cover events for us here at Eyes On Windsor. Milestone Photography Studio is built by photographers for photographers. Find out more about the studio at http://milestonestudios.ca