Cirque in Action

Artists from around the world audition to be a part of a Cirque du Soleil show, which mixes traditional circus arts with new age dance.

Story by Stephen Zegalia
Photos by Ariane Kunze

Performers appear in traditional Chinese dragon and lion costumes.

On Wednesday afternoon the performers of Cirque du Soleil warmed up at Matthew Knight Arena in preparation for Dralion, a show brand new to Eugene which will run nine performances over five days. Dralion, which is one of twenty-two different Cirque du Soleil shows, was created in 2004 and has been continually changed ever since as various troupes have taken the piece on tour. The style, however, has remained the unique blend that is the new circus.

The central theme of the two-and-a-half hour performance is the intersection of East and West, a fitting topic given that it includes fifty-two performers from countries across the world, including twenty-three acrobats from the Chinese Performing Arts School. A live band plays throughout the show, offering music from around the world as performers climb, jump, and dance though then acts.

Although the production is massive, there’s still room for experimentation from the performers. “One of the best things about the show is that it’s always open to evolution,” says Sean McKeown, the production’s artistic director. “You could see it five times and see different things each night.”



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