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‘Dralion:’ Where East meets West

Picture acrobats soaring through the air, gymnasts performing amazing stunts while bouncing off trampolines and contortionists bending their bodies in ways unimaginable—this isn’t your average circus—it’s Cirque du Soleil.

The internationally-renowned circus performs permanent shows in Las Vegas and Orlando, but also tours various cities. Having always wanted to see a Cirque du Soleil show, I knew I had to go when I discovered the Tallahassee Civic Center was one of the stops for its “Dralion” production.

Despite driving an hour and a half and purchasing tickets I thought would be in the nosebleed section, the venture was truly worth it; I could honestly say there was not a bad seat in the house as each one provided a clear view relatively close to the stage.

“Dralion” is the fusion of Eastern and Western culture by blending Chinese acrobatic arts with Cirque du Soleil’s own unique style. Its name is drawn from the dragon, which symbolizes the East, and the lion, which symbolizes the West.

The show’s theme centers on creating harmony between humans and nature.

Performers wear elaborate, vividly colored costumes representing four different elements: air (blue), water (green), fire (red) and earth (shades of yellow, brown and red), each one moving in a fashion that depicts their counterpart.

The opening act included a performer balancing her single hand upon a stack of canes. She controlled her body in such a slow and delicate manner to create jaw-dropping poses, all the while remaining her balance.

Suspended high in the air with a hoop, one performer embodying “fire” presented choreography in which she dangled by just one of her ankles. On another occasion she hung only by her neck, spinning so fast that she became a blur.

There was an amazing juggling act in which the performer simultaneously juggled seven balls while breakdancing.

A group of acrobats bounced off trampolines as they flew side to side and tumbled in mid-air. Another group of acrobats worked in unison to perform jump rope while stacked on top of each other in a pyramid.

My favorite act was a passionate aerial Pas de deux between two lovers intertwined who soared over the stage with blue cloth as they performed a dance both emotional and skillful. During this time, the audience was at its most silent as they watched in awe.

European clowns also appeared in between acts, providing comic relief as they played foolish tricks on one another and parodied the previous stunts before them.

All of these acts were highly impressive and it was obvious these talented individuals had great strength and discipline.

Equally impressive was the live music and how seamlessly its rhythm matched that of the performers.

The music was so on point that I initially thought it was a track playing in the background since the band was hidden behind the stage and was not revealed until later.

Overall, “Dralion” definitely met my expectations and left me curious about Cirque’s other twenty two productions.

Should you get the opportunity to attend a show, I highly recommend it; it’s also not too late as “Dralion” will be making its next tour stop on Oct. 11-13 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. with tickets starting at $35.

“Dralion” certainly achieves harmony in a breathtaking manner.

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