It’s a circus, but there are no animals. It tells a story, but there’s no plot. And it’s all about the spectacle — of colorfully adorned characters performing extreme acrobatic moves from floor to ceiling. For those of you who’ve never seen “Saltimbanco” or any other Cirque du Soleil show, here’s a primer.
It’s a circus, but there are no animals. It tells a story, but there’s no plot.
And it’s all about the spectacle — of colorfully adorned characters performing extreme acrobatic moves from floor to ceiling.
For those of you who’ve never seen “Saltimbanco” or any other Cirque du Soleil show, here’s a primer.
“Saltimbanco” will be performed at nine shows at the Rockford MetroCentre Feb. 24 to March 1.
Cirque shows in general
Humans, not animals, perform. They swing from trapezes, stand on their hands, walk on stilts, juggle, bungee-jump and more. They do so in over-the-top makeup and brightly colored costumes. Their stunts are precisely performed. Their bodies are trim yet muscular.
The Cirque du Soleil brand was born in Quebec, Canada, in 1984 and played out under circus big-tops. The show took off after it became a permanent act in Las Vegas, where there are now five different Cirque shows. Several other shows are touring worldwide.
“Saltimbanco” comes from Italian words that mean to “jump on a bench.”
The family-friendly, music-filled show features the faceless masses who live in a big city and individuals who represent diverse groups, as well as the hustle and bustle of the street and the towering heights of skyscrapers. It concentrates on different cultures, their meeting places and intersecting paths.
All told, 47 artists from 23 countries perform.
The show premiered in 1992 and visited 75 cities on five continents during its 14-year tour under the big top. This is the first time it is being presented in an arena in Rockford.
There’ll be two 55-minute segments to the show, with a 25-minute intermission. Ten to 15 minutes before the show, clowns go into the audience to play with them.
The characters speak in gibberish.
One highlight of the show: More than a dozen acrobats free-falling head-first down Chinese poles. The shoes used in the act, which are among more than 250 pairs of custom-made shoes, are repainted before each performance.
Georgette Braun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Web
To see video of “Saltimbanco,” with commentary from director of creation Carmen Ruest, go to rrstar.com/multimedia.
If you go
What: Cirque du Soleil’s “Saltimbanco”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24-28, as well as 3:30 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28; and 1 and 5 p.m. March 1
Where: MetroCentre, 300 Elm St., Rockford
Cost: $90, $65, $35; ages 2 to 12, $72, $52, 28
Information: metrocentre.com, 815-968-5222
About the show
Carmen Ruest, director of creation for Cirque du Soleil, visited the Register Star in Rockford this month to promote “Saltimbanco.” Here’s what she had to say:
“It’s a lively and colorful show.”
“You don’t have enough of two eyes to see the whole show. The impression will make you want to go the second time.”
“It’s beautiful, and high-level acrobatics. They are crazy. Don’t try this at home.”