By ANGIE CARNATHAN
The ever-popular Cirque du Soleil is bringing one of their signature shows, “Dralion,” to the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo Sept.6-8.
Julie Desmarais, the show’s publicist, said “Dralion” is a wonderful opportunity for the people of North Mississippi to experience a theatrical performance they would normally have to travel to see.
“If you’ve never seen a show like this, ‘Dralion’ is a great way to start,” Desmarais said.
“Dralion” uses Chinese acrobatics and visually stunning effects to tell the story of the quest for harmony between mankind and nature. The show gets its name from the dragon and the lion, symbolizing the east and west, respectively.
“Each Cirque de Soleil show has its own storyline and set of acrobatics,” Desmarais said. “’Dralion’ has 10 gravity defying acts.”
The show’s performers take on the form of the four elements of nature: fire, air, earth and water. Each element is represented by a different color, and the makeup and costumes help embody the effect for the audience.
Over 16,000 feet of fabric were used in creating the costumes for “Dralion.” Some unusual materials were also used, including horse hair, raffia, metal, window screen, emu feathers, crystals, styrofoam, plastic, bubble wrap, fur, springs and various hardware items. “Dralion” has close to 1,500 costume pieces including shoes, hats and accessories.
Desmarais said the 52 performers in “Dralion” are all masters of their crafts and come from a plethora of backgrounds, but each goes on to train for months to learn the show.
“Some of our performers went to school to learn their crafts; a few have actually been to a circus school,” Desmarais said. “Then some are found and cast by scouts, and some come from sports and acrobatics.”
Most of them had never performed in front of a live audience when they were first cast, Desmarais said, and for some that was the hardest part of their training.
“A lot of the performers still get butterflies before a performance,” Desmarais said, “but we hope we give the audience butterflies as well.”
The show uses several different types of acrobatic performance, including an aerial ballet using hoops suspended over the stage, an aerial pas de deux — where couples fly over the stage from a long blue — and trampolines.
“The trampoline act alone takes four to six months of training,” Desmarais said.
“Dralion” premiered in Montreal, Canada, in 1999 and has been seen by more than 7,000,000 people all over the world. The show has received rave reviews from other cities on its tour.
Tickets are still available.
For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/tickets/tupelo.aspx .