In 1993, seven friends from the Magdalen Islands decided to put on a show. Some 30 countries later, Montreal-based Cirque Eloize is one of Canada's national treasures. Now numbering 17 performers, which is small by circus standards, the company puts quality before quantity.
Their new show iD blends hip-hop dance and circus arts together in brilliant fashion. The company was commissioned to create the opening production for the relaunched Sony Centre, and iD does the venue proud.
Ten Reasons to See Cirque Eloize's iD
1. First and foremost, the performers. This is a young cast whose enthusiasm pervades every scene. The standout is contortionist Leilani Franco. Picture this: Lying on her chest, she raises her legs up behind her, folds them at the knees, then rests them on her back! Thibaut Philippe on the trial bike is a risk-taker, doing a wheelie up, down and all around the prone body of an audience volunteer.
2. Krzysztof Soroczynski's acrobatic and trampowall (where one bounces from floor to wall) designs. The show features 12 different circus arts all configured for maximum excitement.
3. Director Jeannot Painchaud's vision behind the show. The setting is a city where people can escape anonymity by expressing individuality through their talent.
4. The urban dance choreography. Christian "Sancho" Garmatter heads a team of five hip-hop dancers who collectively created the thrilling choreography, and who also appear in the show as connecting links. There is something to be said for trained gymnasts as b-boys. They can break, lock and pop with a speed and body distortion that startles the eye.
5. The seamless flow of the show with each act rising out of the one before. For example, people pass back and forth to establish a busy city street. A girl (Catherine Girard) and boy (Jean-Philippe Cuerrier) bump into each other, and the initial angry confrontation becomes a growing attraction that leads to a breath-stopping hand-to-hand routine i.e. he holding up her entire body with her one arm balanced on his one arm.
6. Robert Massicotte's set. The skyline is a row of apartment buildings, and throughout the show, the performers pop out of windows and doors in a series of surprises. They also move up and down the walls via cunningly placed landings.
7. Apparently, this is the first time Cirque Eloize has used a video component, and the projections, ranging from neon signs to graffiti, areabsolutely stunning as they splash across the apartment complex.8. The hip-hop/rap dominated music - from Jean-Phi Goncalves and Alex McMahon - includes a fabulous mix of throbbing rhythms.
9. His industrial soundscape (Jacques Poulin-Denis) representing urban ambience adds just the right amount of tension to the mean streets of the city.
10. Linda Brunelle's costumes. The young cast is swathed in urban street chic.
- Cirque Eloize
- Directed by Jeannot Painchaud
- At the Sony Centre in Toronto
Cirque Eloize continues at the Sony Centre until Oct. 9.