This past weekend I had the privilege to attend Cirque Eloize iD at Foxwoods. This Montreal-based traveling circus has been creating moving performances filled with magic since 1993. Don't let the word circus mislead you. This isn't the type with animals and oddities, but a circus that expresses its innovative nature through theatricality and humanity, and combines circus arts with music, dance and theatre in a completely unique and original form. With ten original productions to its credit, Cirque Éloize has presented almost 4,000 performances in over 440 cities and 40 countries including such locations as Israel, Hong Kong, Scotland, Norway, Germany, Tokyo, Russia, Mexico, Lebanon and the US with the most recent performances taking place in Connecticut's Foxwoods Resort Casino.
I was invited to attend opening night, a preview night with fellow bloggers and press but due to a schedule conflict I could not make the performance. I was fortunate to catch Saturday's Matinee with my two boys ages 10 and 14. I was thrilled as I had been thinking of attending at the end of the month.
We almost didn't make the performance as I95 was an absolute disaster. Between the traffic backup from the highway construction in New Haven (which should have taken a mere 20 minutes from my home, and instead took over an hour and a half) and the residual traffic from the serious accidents with fatalities upstate, I knew early on it would be a close call. While I kept my eyes on the road my older son reprogrammed my car's navigation as well as that on my phone and we were able to find an alternate route. My suggestion - right off the bat - would be to advise you to hop on the Merritt Parkway. Once we were away from the congestion of I95 all was smooth sailing, but I still worried about getting to the performance as we needed to find the parking garage and then make our way over to the theater. How could I properly review the show if I was a half hour late? Somehow, we made it, just a couple of minutes after the doors closed and made our way over to the seats, up on the mezzanine 2nd row back up from the orchestra seating. Our seats were incredible.
To describe this performance as a circus is almost doing it an injustice - it's so much more. With the fluidity and grace of ballet, to the energy of hip hop and the agility of acrobatics, this circus form celebrates the remarkable talents, grace and strengths of the human body. Always entertaining, often breathtakingly beautiful, with moments that are knee-slappingly funny and silly as performers dance, jump, twirl, hula, bike, roller-blade and pogo and bicycle on stage, makes this performance one that is truly family-friendly. In fact, I was surprised there were not more children in the theater. As I sat in my seat I was awed by the talent of the dancers and acrobats, their nimbleness and elegance and the beauty in many of the numbers. My 10 year old who was seated next to me was at times at the edge of his seat, at times wide-eyed and at times laughing uproariously.
Cirque Eloize iD is a loose and creative interpretation of West Side Story, a tragic love story about two young New Yorkers from rival gangs. As the show commenced I wondered whether I should have explained the tale to my boys, but as the show continued I saw that it didn't matter. I found myself focusing on the short interlinked vignettes, or scenes, rather than on the story line. It's easy to lose yourself in the independent performance.
Without wanting to reveal any of the show - the videos and images I had seen prior didn't do it justice - I will simply end with the suggestion that all who can - all who enjoy creative and interpretative performances should set a little time aside and bring the family for an afternoon or evening of fun and some good old fashioned family bonding before school starts and we're all back to the frenzied schedules that accompany it. Unlike many theatrical performances these days, tickets are very reasonable, ranging from $30 - $65. All the more reason to attend!
For those of you like myself, who live a distance away, there are plenty of restaurants from which to choose, both casual and fine dining. to grab a bite to eat either before or after your performance. Plus, if you have the kids and they're anything like mine, there's a great 2-story arcade for them to enjoy.