How to Find the Right Cirque du Soleil Show for You
Cirque du Soleil has been blowing minds and delighting audiences for 35 years. Having performed for more than 155 million people around the globe, the company has a reputation for staging imaginative and mesmerizing acts, and creating a truly awe-inspiring experience. Six shows are currently touring North America, each with their own distinctive style and personality. As a Cirque du Soleil Deal Expert, I’m here to tell you all about these touring shows, which can be broken up into two varieties: Big Top and Arena.
Big Top refers to the Grand Chapiteau -- the signature striped tent that serves as the show’s home. It’s appropriate that “big” is in the title, because there’s nothing small about these shows: big production value, big entertainment, big thrills ... it’s just an overall big experience.
Cirque du Soleil has creative control over every square inch of the space, and they’ve created a truly immersive experience. Shows are performed in the round, with action happening from all angles. The venue seats more than 2,500 people; it feels surprisingly intimate and all seats are near the stage.
Fun fact: it takes roughly eight days to construct the site and three days to pack up. Anywhere from 50-75 trucks are needed to haul more than 1,300 tons of equipment. It is a huge endeavor, so naturally these shows stay in town for 1-3 months at a time.
This extreme sports-inspired show is getting great reviews – the Chicago Tribune says the show "is thrilling because of the acts. Period. They're all totally fabulous.” In addition to super exciting BMX bikers, there’s an aerialist who literally hangs by her hair.
This is one of Cirque du Soleil’s most iconic shows, and it’s returning to the stage to celebrate its 25th anniversary. “Alegria” – named after the Spanish word for “joy” – tells the story of a classic power struggle between old and new. Variety called the original production "unimaginable" and full of "how'd-they-do-that amazement."
Girls run the world, and also this show – the cast is 75% female. The “standing ovation worthy” acts (Dallas Observer) include contortion, uneven bars and a "mesmerizing" balancing act (Miami Herald).
Surprise! Arena shows take place in ... an arena. Setup is easier, so for this reason, Cirque du Soleil can travel to a lot of places in a lot less time. These shows stay in town for only a handful of days (sometimes one weekend, sometimes up to two weeks) so you have to catch ‘em while you can.
"Crystal" takes acrobatics to a whole new level by performing them on ice. Hockey players do flips over ramps, acrobats balance on a tower of chairs and trapeze artists perform "shocking" grabs and drops (Orlando Sentinel).
"Corteo" – one of Cirque du Soleil’s most beloved shows -- follows a clown watching his own funeral take place in a carnival atmosphere. But don't worry -- "there's no crying ... just laughter, chills and all-around amazement" (Variety).