Dralion | Dance review
When Cirque du Soleil is in town, anything’s possible. What else extends the appeal of circuses, dragons and clowns to 100 million audience members worldwide?
Such is the phenomenal power of shows like Cirque’s Dralion, performing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont this week before heading to the United Center in Chicago June 27 through July 1. With a theme of unification, the show’s portmanteau title of “dragon” and “lion” takes root in Eastern and Western symbols and the never-ending quest for harmony between the two cultures.
The two-and-a-half-hour show revolves around the four elements—water, fire, earth and air—as they share the stage over the course of the night, displaying their unique character traits: Earth (a.k.a., Gaya) stomps the floor, undulates her body, and never loses her incredible verve. Fire (Yao) mesmerizes the audience with an incandescent costume and commanding force.
Later on, a juggler manipulates eight balls at once, 13 performers dive through stacks of hoops and a pyramid of six people jump rope. The troupe is known for these things, but Cirque is at its finest when it fuses extraordinary gymnastic with elements of conventional dance. The second act’s Aerial Pas de Deux stands out as the evening’s most “dancy” piece, but also the most memorable. Performed by Amanda Orozco and Lorant Markocsany, the two repeatedly launch themselves into the air, suspended by giant blue ribbons. The duo moves in flux accompanied by a delightful orchestral movement. Their ability to support one another’s weight while soaring through the air is uncanny. And on one occasion, Orozco suspends herself to Markocsany with just her hands linked around his neck. Several times, Orozco clutches a ribbon and shoots straight up to the ceiling, leaving Markocsany on the ground, reaching for her. But in the end, she glides down, where he waits to catch her. It’s no small thing for a dance to leave you breathless, but this pas de deux succeeds in doing just that.
Like most Cirque du Soleil performances, this one quenches the audience’s thirst for “wow” moments, moments that one comes to expect from shows like Dralion. It’s all part of a larger message though, one that intends to bring people together, having some fun along the way.
Dralion continues through Sun 24 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.