The 'Cirque' is in town for one last time

Dralion’s Farewell Tour kicks off tonight in Ft. Wayne, IN

By Stacy Cummings

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Photograph provided by Cirque du Soleil. Photograph by Daniel Desmarais.

Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion comes to Indiana this November bringing an East-meets-West theme to its show. Combined with the traditional Chinese circus and the Western contemporary circus, Dralion is inspired by Eastern philosophy and its journey for the harmony between humans and nature. The name Dralion comes from a combination of the symbolic creatures the dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West.

The show will be held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana from Nov. 5-9. Tickets range from $30-$140, depending on the seats purchased.

Cirque du Soleil’s popular show Dralion plans to close the curtain January of 2015, making November its last and final performance in Indiana. Its last performance will take place in Anchorage, Arkansas. Dralion will also perform in nine other states before then for those wanting to see the show before it’s too late.

The show includes four performers each resembling one of the four elements of natural order: air is represented in blue, water represented in green, fire in red and earth in ochre. Little Buddha is also a character that represents time. In addition to the East-meets-West theme, the show consists of another loose storyline that portrays the clash of elements.

Cirque du Soleil has performed in more than 40 countries on six different continents with more than 100 million audience members. The company as a whole has more than 1,300 performing artists from about 50 different countries all over the world. Dralion is Cirque du Soleil’s 12th production that has gone on tour.

The Aerial Hoop, Hibana, shows as a favorable act as a women represents fire while performing an intriguing dance with her hoop. Aerial Pas de Deux shows as another favorable act as a couple performs aerial ballet wrapped in a long blue ribbon.

Cirque du Soleil is definitely known as being one of the most unique of all the arts. Fans of Cirque du Soleil in general speak on their excitement of the unusual, creative art.

“The love of their performance shows in their acts and I love their dedication to the performances,” said Sheri Hood, a junior at IUPUI. “The strength of the human body is well performed.”

Dralion first premiered 15 years ago by the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil performing in more than 150 cities since its debut. Guy Laliberte, founder of Dralion, was a known accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-eater. Laliberte created Cirque du Soleil in 1984 by taking interest in the talents of street performers.

In addition to the four acts of air (Azala), earth (Gaya), water (Oceane) and fire (Yao), other acts included are singers (L’ Ame Force), actors (Kala and Little Buddha), mythical creatures (Dralions) and clowns. The acts all include western and eastern acrobatic talents.

“The dancing and the acrobats are my favorite,” said Chelsea Jefferies, former IUPUI student. “Especially when the two are combined.”

Other acts include tumbling, juggling, bamboo poles, trampoline acrobatics, dancers, aerial dancing, ballet, hoops, jump ropes and contortion as part of the long list of talents included in Dralion. Music incorporated in the performance is composed by Violaine Corradi and includes acoustic and electric instruments to represent both East and West.

“It is humorous, exciting and something you don’t want to end while in the middle of watching,” said Hood.

Costumes for Dralion are inspired by China, India and Africa. All fabric used in making the costumes came from places all over the world such as China, Italy, France, England, Quebec and even the United States. Emu feathers, horse hair, metal, bubble wrap and Styrofoam were some of the materials used in creating these costumes. Francois Barbeau, Costume Designer of Dralion, won an Emmy in 2013 for the more than 1,500 costume pieces used in the show.

The show focuses on Man and Nature becoming one and the search for harmony. From the costumes, to the acts, to the talent and the creators, Dralion has been a popular show in Cirque du Soleil bringing in big audiences. More than 100 people from 19 different nationalities are a part of the cast and crew that it takes to bring together Dralion.