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Cirque du Soleil’s whirlwind stay

Since the ‘80s, Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian entertainment collaboration, has been captivating audiences around the world with its humor and acrobatics.

The group performed its show “Dralion” at the Schottenstein Center from Wednesday through Sunday.

“Dralion” is one of the variations the company performs. It is a multicultural show featuring people from all over the world. Carl Martel, one of the stage managers for “Dralion,” said the show had something for everyone.

“If you’re more into dancing then there’s a big part of it. If you’re into acrobatics there’s also a good part of the show that’s based on acrobatics,” Martel said. “Good performances, great music, it’s an overall good show.”

In the hours before the show, the performers were practicing their stunts and preparing for the night.

The arena was dark, with only the stage lit up. Trampoline performers adjusted their positions for the perfect placement.

The trampoline act, which is considered one of the most difficult trades in Cirque performances, debuted in 2004 to make the show more exciting, Martel said.

“The wall is tricky; it’s something like 5 meters tall, and it’s also bent or curved,” Martel said. “He (the performer) really has to gauge his jump so that he lands in the right place on the trampoline so that his bounce-back will also be calculated. So there is a lot of precision.”

The aerial hoop performer needed to get her positioning exactly right, as she does not rely on a harness or other safety precautions. She hung several feet in the air from her neck and appendages.

Backstage, the other cast members stretched and reviewed film from previous shows.

Lia Paredes, 23, an Arizona native, was a gymnast throughout high school and knew she wanted to end up being part of Cirque du Soleil. Paredes has been part of “Dralion” since its start in the United States.

“I play the Little Buddha, who is the time keeper in the show,” she said. “I create the environment from the beginning of the show and bring out all of our elements.”

The show represents four elements: Earth, wind, fire and water. Each element serves as the focus for one act.

Lorant Markocsany, a Hungarian, started training for circus acts when he was 9 years old. He has been with Cirque du Soleil since June. He turned down four Cirque du Soleil roles before committing to the position of the mate to the Goddess of the Air.

A major element that performers rely on is the music played by the live band. The musicians are placed in multiple compartments within the stage, shielded by curtains.

The drummer, Alex Reis, is from Brazil and said he enjoys playing for the show.

“This show is very interesting because we have a mix of almost all kinds of music from different parts of the world,” he said.

Because it’s a live performance, the music is subject to change nightly.

“Everything that is happening on stage, the music is following,” Reis said. “It’s very dynamic because if something is changing on stage, we (the band) have to follow.”

During Columbus’ opening night show on Wednesday, the audience laughed at the clowns and applauded the performers.

The French-speaking clowns provided humor for the guests between scenes as the elements transformed.

The show’s next stop is Detroit.


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