With a team of 40 artists consisting of skaters, acrobats and musicians, Cirque Du Soleil's upcoming show Crystal will combine its acrobatic performance with a new element: ice.
The narrative is a familiar one, but delivered in a unique way. The main character, Crystal, is a dreamer in a stoic world, and when she pulls an Alice in Wonderland and falls through the ice, she discovers an untapped realm. Through that portal, she finds the person she always wanted to be.
The set design and costumes are designed to enhance the storyline's focus on reflection and duality. Even the ice's capacity for reflecting images will serve the story, and 28 projectors suspended from the ceiling will allow the audience a whole other level of engagement with the performers. Not only will you see the performers in front of you, but multiple layers of imagery, thanks to the sky-set cameras.
"So, as you're watching live performance and Crystal is going through her journey, you also follow her through a different level of technology," says Julie Desmarais, touring spokesperson for Crystal.
Costume designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt was inspired by Crystal's surreal and ethereal experience. Besides necessary functionality, like thicker lycra to keep the performers warm, the costumes will reflect different roles, such as the use of black and white costumes to portray shadows. Each character has up to three or four costume changes, so each piece is designed to have easy access and removal.
Taking acrobatics to an ice rink wasn't an easy feat, and Christopher Koury, Crystal's production manager, oversaw the logistical side of things.
"I know it's a different dynamic of the show which allows for more creative uses of what you would traditionally think of for a Cirque show," says Koury. "The ice obviously adds a different element to it, and a different skill level for the artists."
Koury adds that there was a certain temperature to be maintained for the ice to be workable for both ice skaters and the show's acrobats. The acrobats have specialized footwear with metal studs at the bottom to help with traction on the slick surface.
Crystal's musical score blends orchestral sounds with contemporary pop songs to connect with the audience. Audiences will be able to recognize a sound pattern repeating throughout the show that syncs with the storyline.
"It's a story about love and a story about confidence," says Desmarais. "She's seeking who she is and she finds it at the end. She finds herself and what she's destined to be." ♦
Cirque Du Soleil's Crystal • May 2-6; Wed-Fri at 7:30 pm, Sat at 4 pm and 7:30 pm, Sun at 1:30 pm and 5 pm • $47-$127 • All ages • Spokane Arena • 720 W Mallon Ave. • spokanearena.com • 325-7320