Cirque du Soleil Dazzles Again 

World Class Ice Skating and Stunning Acrobatics

Cirque du Soleil is on ice with their performance of Axel.

Cirque du Soleil, press release, fair use

Cirque du Soleil is on ice with their performance of Axel.

Amaya Turner, Staff Writer

Since 1984, Cirque du Soleil has captured hearts around the globe. I’ve seen three of their previous spectacular shows and this month I was lucky enough to see my fourth.  

Cirque du Soleil

On Thursday, Dec. 5, their newest show “Axel” premiered in Worcester at the DCU Center. The show is in every sense of the word mesmerizing.  The story line follows a young man named Axel and his captivating group of friends. Axel is passionate about music and visual arts and falls for the mystifying Lei in a show about chasing your dreams.

As in all Cirque shows, this one follows a loose story line based on the various performers skills. There is little to no talking. Everything is communicated through music and body language. In this sense, Cirque du Soleil is completely unique and offers a completely new kind of theater. 

Paired with the ice-skating, “Axel” has the feel of an ’80s roller skating rink.  The performers combine a variety of traditional and non-traditional circus skills, including aerial silks, juggling, contortionists, martial arts, and diabolo performers.

My favorite performers in “Axel” were the contortionist who played the villainous Vi.

— Amaya Turner

As expected, the costuming showcases the bright neon colors associated with the 1980s, and the music accompanies the theme. Cirque costumes are always unusual and mysterious, while still being practical enough to perform in. In this performance, the bright costumes add to the artistic effect of the show. 

After the show, I was lucky enough to ask the cast and crew a few questions about “Axel.” One stage technician explained how the set and equipment is moved, as it is a traveling show. He said that, “Upon leaving or arriving at a new city, they hire 100 local people to help move around. The show itself has around 20 technicians traveling with it.”

It takes a lot of practice to get it right. The technician said, “Rehearsals have been going since at least May, although the show itself has been worked on since last January.”

As is standard for Cirque du Soleil, the cast in “Axel” is diverse, entertaining, and filled with passion for their craft. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the “Axel” cast is how elegant they all are. They make the most challenging acts seem easy and natural. Some of the performers have been training for over ten years.

My favorite performers in “Axel” were the contortionist who played the villainous Vi. The contortionist performed with such elegance that he also gave the illusion of magic. His stage presence where every movement was calculated with utmost precision and honed by hours of practice was impressive. Not to mention, he had an amazing costume, a neon green fabric and makeup that contrasted with the sharp white ice.  

I also enjoyed the diabolo performer who played the character Quartz and did a series of amazing tricks with such skill and grace. 

While watching the contortionist’s act, it occurred to me why “Cirque du Soleil” shows offer such wondrous magic. The performers are completely in tune with their character, the music, and their craft. While performing they cease to be just another actor. They become part of the art. A living, breathing piece of a masterpiece that sweeps over the audience’s senses and fills them with an indescribable sense of wonder and magic. 

Truly, the performance of “Axel” is a labor of love. I cannot praise it highly enough. It has only served to boost my previous high opinion of Cirque shows and I’m eager to see another.

The next show coming to the area is Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal,” which will be in Providence, Rhode Island from June 3-7, 2020. To keep up with their journey, follow them on Instagram: Cirque du Soleil Instagram.