“I saw Allegria when I was a teenager, and decided that when I grew up I was going to join the circus,” our tour guide said as she was leading us backstage after a mesmerizing performance of Totem. “After university, much to my parents’ dismay, I did.”
We toured the artists’ tent, dodging the now jeans-clad artists as they rushed to catch the next shuttle back to the Georgian Terrace where they are staying, where we saw the shoe corner, the make-up area and dressing rooms.
I won’t be joining the circus any time soon — that no-talent, loving my own bathroom thing being just two of the many obstacles — but I will see every Cirque show that I can.
Including ones I’ve seen before. As soon as I sat down in the huge blue-and-yellow tent, the Grand Chapiteau, at Atlantic Station in Atlanta and saw the turtle carapace set, I had déjà vu all over again. I had indeed seen Totem before, on its closing night in Montreal in 2010.
But that didn’t diminish my sheer delight at the show, whose story is the journey of the human species from an amphibian to its desire to fly.
The set is so well done that you would swear there’s real water there, as waves and ripples are projected onto the raised center and at one point it looks like artists are swimming out onto the stage.
I’ve been hooked on Cirque since the very first show I saw and since then have seen several in Atlanta, Vegas and Montreal.
A highlight of my life was visiting the Cirque du Soleil headquarters in Montreal, where we were only allowed as a journalists’ group. (Hey, there have to be some special benefits to the job.)
We saw buffed-up artists everywhere, working out, practicing, or just having lunch. My favorite part, of course, was a visit to the costume shop, a gigantic area filled with thousands of costumes, shoes, headpieces and dozens of people working meticulously to craft the gorgeous outfits we see on stage.
But back to Totem. As is typical of Cirque, each amazing act was followed by yet another one where human bodies performed feats that were seemingly impossible.
I loved them all but here were my top three acts of the evening:
Totem is playing in Atlanta through December 30. Next tour stops are Miami: opening January 10; New York, NY: opening March 14; Philadelphia, PA opening May 30. For tickets information, click here.
All photos: Pouya Dianat/Allied Integrated Marketing/Cirque du Soleil