Until the runaway success of last year’s “Varekai,” no one thought that it would ever be possible to bring a Cirque Du Soleil show here to the country. Not only did a young, upstart promotional company called Hoopla, Inc. make it possible, they’ve just brought another Cirque Du Soleil extravaganza to the country.
This time, it’s the classic “Saltimbanco” that had a star-studded premiere on August 9 and is now on the tailend of a very limited run at the Mall of Asia Arena.
A French term for “Circus of the Sun” Cirque Du Soleil is self-described as “a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment.” For the most part, Cirque shows are not much different from other traditional traveling shows and include expected performers like acrobats, clowns and musicians.
But what sets the Cirque shows apart from other circuses is their unique and enchanting combination of traditional circus, opera, street performance and rock music to create a visually arresting spectacle that is nothing short of astounding.
Cirque Du Soleil’s pioneering policy of never including animals in any of its shows has also earned it the moniker, “the world’s most successful human circus.” And for very good reason, too.
“When we brought ‘Varekai’ to Manila last year in cooperation with the Department of Tourism and the National Parks Development Committee, Mayor Lim said it brought Manila back to global consciousness,” Nan Liwanag-Rigor, Hoopla’s head of Intergrated Marketing Communication, told Interaksyon. “Many tourists from nearby Asian countries arrived to watch that show in a big top setup near the Quirino Grandstand.”
Liwanag-Rigor hopes that “Saltimbanco” will have a similar impact even though it only has a 10-day run compared to “Varekai” which had a three-week engagement last year.
“Traditionally, Cirque Du Soleil’s big top shows like ‘Varekai’ have a longer run compared to arena shows like ‘Saltimbanco’ which is only staged for a limited time due to the rigid touring schedule that it strictly follows,” she added. “As much as any promoter would want to extend its run by popular demand, it’s just not possible.”
As Cirque du Soleil’s longest-running touring show dating back to 1992, the baroque-inspired “Saltimbanco” has been staged to wide-spread acclaim to sell-out audiences in Europe, North and South America, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand and has been seen by more than 11.5 million enthusiastic fans.
Derived from the Italian phrase “saltare in banco,” which literally means “to jump on a bench”, the celebrated spectacular is a thrilling and kaleidoscopic celebration of awe-inspiring artistry and agility further enhanced by colorful costumes, amazing lighting, humor and engaging rocking music.
Featuring a cast of 50 high-caliber artists hailing from 20 different countries, “Saltimbanco” features breathtaking acrobatics and incredible athleticism during solo spotlights and epic ensembles.
Highlights include the seemingly impossible balancing, jumping, and spinning during the Chinese Poles or the Russian Swing, the gravity-defying Bungees and Trapeze and the crowd pleasing Juggling and Acrobatic Bicycle.
Of course, no circus is complete without clowns and the ones in “Saltimbanco”, including memorable characters like The Ringmaster, The Dreamer and the man-child Eddy, are not your average court jesters. Eddie is quite a hoot, in particular, as he likes to involve certain members of the audience in his act.
“Saltimbanco” is a fun show for the whole family without question. There are plenty of good reasons why it remain popular 20 years after it was first staged in a big top setup. After this, Hoopla hopes to bring more Cirque Du Soleil shows to the country.
Already, fans are already giving feedback on what’s on their guess slash wish list for the next show.
Could it be “Corteo,” a joyous procession and festive parade imagined by a clown? Or “Quidam,” a whimsical world imagined by a bored young girl named Zoe?
Or could it be “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour” which combines the music and vision of the late King of Pop with Cirque du Soleil’s signature acrobatic performance style to create a realistic concert experience?
Whatever it is, seeing any Cirque Du Soleil show should be another unforgettable experience.
“As most fans would say, each and everyone of us should at least see one Cirque Du Soleil show in our lifetime. With ‘Varekai’ and ‘Saltimbanco,’ we’ve already brought two. Hopefully, we can promote more in the near future,” Liwanag-Rigor promised.
The remaining schedule of “Saltimbanco”: Saturday, August 18 at 4PM and 9PM; and Sunday, August 19 at 3PM and 7PM. For ticket information, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/saltimbanco, www.hoopla.ph and www.smtickets.com or call +632-470-22-22.