After the recent success of Cirque du Soleil in the city, Dubai is ready to witness another stunning contemporary circus performance. From today until August 24, the Dubai World Trade Center will host the Quebec-based Cirque Éloize’s iD – a performance that will combine circus arts and urban dance. We chatted with Jonathan St-Onge, the executive producer of Cirque Éloize, to find out more.
Cirque Éloize’s iD incorporates circus disciplines and urban dance acts. Can you tell us about the concept of combining the two disciplines together?
Circus and dance are two disciplines that are close together in terms of movement. The similarities between the two include the physical aspect and the way that both acrobats and dancers prepare for a show. Both types of performance are choreographed. Putting them together almost came naturally. At Cirque Éloize we had worked with dancers before in a previous show, Cirque Orchestra, where circus arts were combined with a symphonic orchestra.
The type of music we chose for iD was hip-hop. Both hip-hop and contemporary circus are relatively young, having been around for some 30 years, and both are deeply rooted in the streets.
Hip-hop is very dynamic, so the show we created is very dynamic. Before iD came out, our shows were deeply grounded in the theatre world and the public and critics alike had really appreciated our combination of theatricality and circus. Our reputation preceded us and the audience knew that this new show would be innovative. Hip-hop is spectacular in itself. Mix it with circus and you end up with an incredible combination.
After 440 cities and 40 countries, Cirque Éloize is coming to the Middle East for the first time. Why now? And why Dubai?
The iD show alone has been on the road for two years now. We’ve taken it to the US, Europe and Asia. The Middle East was the next logical step. We’d been working on bringing the show here since we launched it and Dubai felt like the natural thing to do.
Touring is complex. Dubai is a city that is open to the world, a business centre and a great tourist destination. It has become one of the greatest entertainment hubs in the world. When we were presented with an offer to bring the show to Dubai, we immediately knew it was a great opportunity and one not to be missed.
What is your favourite act in the show?
I would have to say our version of the trampoline wall, which is a completely new interpretation. We added many openings for the artists to come in and out of. It’s conceived so that the performers can jump on three different surfaces. The wall also serves as a projection wall and becomes the background for the urban landscape of the show, allowing the spectators to be transported into different environments of the fictitious city in which iD takes place.
From an acrobatic perspective, what we’ve created is impressive. There are up to six acrobats performing and jumping, while the rest of the troupe is involved in the group choreography and busy manoeuvring the wall.
Many dream of running away from home to join the circus. You kind of made that happen. Was it one crystallising moment, or did the idea grow on you slowly?
I’m a lawyer by profession. I was destined for office work. For me, “running away with the circus” translates into discovering a totally new universe. I was 24 at that time and deciding not to become a lawyer. Becoming a partner (and producer) with the company, I had to step out of my comfort zone. It didn’t happen overnight. I think it slowly grew with the constant thrill of having to start from scratch every time, reinventing yourself, finding the money to put it together. The greatest pleasure comes when you realise that you’ve created something that didn’t exist before and which millions of people will end up seeing. Being able to share your vision, your interpretation, your creation with people from the different corners of the world, really is a privilege.
iD by Cirque Éloize will be performed at the Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Center from today until August 24 with varied show times. Tickets can be purchased from www.platinumlist.net/cirqueeloize or by calling
04 457 3212
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