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Stunning, death-defying circus troupe sets Araneta stage on fire—literally

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 01:14 AM December 31, 2016
Fire dancer

Fire dancer

There’s no single story stringing together Le Grand Cirque’s thrilling feats and flights of derring-do in an exhilarating succession of acts—and that’s all to the good, because the touring show wants nothing more than to entertain its merry-making audience with sensational but sometimes death-defying acts that require stamina, precision, teamwork, training, experience, absolute physical conditioning  and peerless focus.

The circus show has been staged in more than 15 countries and is currently running at the Smart Araneta Coliseum until Jan. 3 (call 9115555, or visit www.ticketnet.com.ph).

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This time, its gravity-defying tricks and stunts are performed by around 35 performers from China, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States on an adjustable thrust cum proscenium stage.

Rabble-rousing mime (right) interacts with a viewer

Rabble-rousing mime (right) interacts with a viewer.

High-flying acrobat work up the crowdHigh-flying acrobat work up the crowd

High-flying acrobat work up the crowdHigh-flying acrobat work up the crowd

The show briskly shuttles from one diverse act to another, gathering aerialists, jugglers, dancers, gymnasts and acrobats, contortionists, strongmen, and fire-breathers who set the Araneta Coliseum stage on fire—literally—and a rabble-rousing mime effectively interacting with the crowd in between sets and acts.

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Some of the group’s most popular stunts make inventive use of roller balls, aerial cubes, balloons, straw caps, hula hoops, a swinging trapeze and a trampoline set that showcases the jaw-dropping agility of performers who walk on walls when they aren’t bouncing or somersaulting alongside one another.

There were a few slips and scary missteps but, for the most part, the sequences were achieved and realized with deceptive ease and aplomb. The music, lights and functional sets help establish the element of magic and surprise that magnifies the viewing experience.

In the Risley stunt, a performer lies on his back as he spins another person in the air using only his feet. Spinning and balancing tricks are utilized to accomplish hoop diving, plate spinning, hang juggling, and so on.

Gymnasts spinning multiple plates on vibrating sticks

Gymnasts spinning multiple plates on vibrating sticks

Contortionist balances five candelabras on her four limbs and head

Contortionist balances five candelabras on her four limbs and head

The Diabolo act tosses tops resembling a giant yo-yo, while the Russian Swing slings, hurls and flings acrobats from one mounted swing to perform acrobatic tricks in the air.

Another impressive number has performers spinning multiple plates on sticks. In another, a lithe and limber contortionist balances five candelabras on her four limbs and head as she twists her body on a platform.

If you are partial to physical force over nuanced skill, the musclemen’s gravity-defying show of brute strength won’t disappoint.

We will let the photos speak for themselves, but there’s nothing better than seeing these acts in a live performance. Le Grand Cirque may not have the visual grandiosity and cohesive beauty of Cirque du Soleil, but this spectacular, rough-around-the-edges circus show will give you plenty of bang for the buck!

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Gravity-defying show of brute strength

Gravity-defying show of brute strength

Balancing act laced with synchronized choreography.

Balancing act laced with synchronized choreography.

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