Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cirque du Soleil returns to Atlanta with "Totem"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Cirque du Soleil begins to setup for their live production, Totem, with the raising of their signature blue and yellow tent. The production opens October 26 in Atlanta.
  • Courtesy Cirque du Soleil, copyright Carolyn Sloss
  • IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Cirque du Soleil begins to set up for their live production, "Totem," with the raising of their signature blue and yellow tent. The production opens October 26 in Atlanta.
The neighborhood's been busy lately. Atlantic Station, where the Creative Loafing offices are located, has recently become the latest stopping point for Cirque du Soleil's touring show Totem, which opens in Atlanta this Friday, Ocotber 26, and plays through December 23. The past couple weeks, the crew—with 64 trailers carrying over 1,200 tons of equipment—has been at Atlantic Station setting up the 2600-seat, 66-foot high tent, a process which takes over eight days. Commuters can now even see the enormous tent from the downtown connector.

The show itself is an acrobatic spectacle tracing the evolution of the human species from its original amphibious state in a primeval swamp through the stages of its progress up to human's desire to fly. (Creationists in the audience can calm themselves by imagining that the tent might be about the dimensions of Noah's Ark). The acrobatic acts and set pieces include trampoline, trapeze, hoops, rings, perches, roller skates, Russian bars, and unicycles.

"Every Cirque production is different," says Artistic Director Tim Smith of the new show. At three years old, Totem is a relatively young Cirque show: the company currently has about 21 touring and resident shows around the world (13 of them have visited Atlanta over the years). "It's really advanced technology, amazing visuals, skill sets and disciplines we've never seen before ... The mandate of the company is creation."

Performers often spend years of their lives with a Cirque show. "It's hard, but every few months we're moving to a new city so every few months I can refresh," says Japanese acrobat Umi Miya, who is one of the 52 performers in the show. He performs on the bars in the opening act and has been with the show since its inception, staying with it as it progressed through 14 cities in Europe and North America. "It's a good thing. We're doing the same show, but it's a different city so it's always exciting for us."

Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" opens at Atlantic Station this Friday, October 26, and plays through December 23. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Cirque du Soleil.

BAR NONE: Umi Miya is one of the acrobats in the opening act of Cirque du Soleils new show Totem. He says visiting new cities helps keep performing in the show exciting.
  • Courtesy Cirque du Soleil
  • BAR NONE: Umi Miya is one of the acrobats in the opening act of Cirque du Soleil's new show "Totem." He says visiting new cities helps keep performing in the show exciting.

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