Cirque City

Apparently, we’re Cirque country. The Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil has visited Minnesota three times in the past nine months, though we should probably count the Michael Jackson tribute, The Immortal, for reasons artistic and proprietary, as something less than a Cirque show. That frequency might say more about the growth of Cirque than us, but still: after hosting one tour a year since 2007, we’ve now become practically a Vegas surrogate.

This week, through September 23, Cirque is staging Dralion at the Target Center, a show that last came through in 2000, a year after its creation. That time around, it was held outdoors under Cirque’s famous big top, a more intimate experience, and the after-party at the former Theatre de la Jeune Lune, natch, was très fantastic—I recall dancing with a Mongolian contortionist. The Target Center takes a little more imagination to conjure the boho street-circus magic that still guides Cirque’s over-the-top creations. The trade-off is the massive set, allowing for some spectacular new acrobatic sequences. If you saw Dralion 12 years ago, you probably won’t recognize it if you go now. Here are five reasons you should.

1. It’s back-to-basics Cirque. If you saw The Immortal (sorry), this is the palate cleanser. Sure, there’s dancing and singing between the acrobatics, but the tumbling is front and center, with a focus on classic Chinese acrobatics.

2. The clowning. The buffoons are an acquired taste in Cirque shows—you feel that perhaps if you were French, or a mime, or both, they might be funnier. In this case, because of a running joke with a spectator, you can’t help smiling at their cunning. There’s a surprise, and I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say it’s the equal of any acrobatic stunt.

3. The juggling. Now, I can juggle three balls and feel pretty good about. I’m pretty sure this guy was juggling about nine, maybe 12. Hard to see when they’re moving that fast. And that thing where they land on the nape of the neck or the elbow or the foot? That’s insane.

4. The hoop skipping. This should be an Olympic sport. The Chinese acrobats keep building a tower of hoops until you think there’s no way they can jump through. And then they do.

5. The trampolines. The huge set accommodates two side-by-side trampolines, and the way the acrobats bounce from one to the other and then to the wall behind them is astonishing. It makes the Olympics look like child’s play, and when they bounce down from the wall and back up to the wall without shifting their body position, as though you’re watching a movie rewind, you literally won’t believe your eyes.

September 19 to 23
Target Center, 600 First Ave. N., Mpls., 612-673-1600

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