Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Dralion’ in town for the first time through Sept. 2 at Boardwalk Hall.
Maybe scheduling conflicts hampered the availability of Atlantic City’s largest arena, Boardwalk Hall, in past years, or appearances in cities too close in proximity to the resort made stopping here impractical.
Whatever the reason, one of the longest-running productions in the international cache of shows known as Cirque du Soleil — character-driven shows blending circus styles from around the world into a central theme or storyline — is making its first-ever appearance in Atlantic City through Sept. 2.
Dralion, Cirque du Soleil's’s top-grossing touring event, is at Boardwalk Hall for single shows Thursday and Friday (7:30pm), and two performances daily Saturday and Sunday. And while some Cirque productions have leaned toward the dark and brooding, thereby appealing primarily to adult audiences, Dralion is bright, cheerful and possessing all the ingredients of a family friendly event — dancing, singing, juggling, clowns, acrobatics and other gravity-defying feats.
“[The show’s] about the four [classic] elements — air, water, fire and earth — and the two singers [called L’Ame-Force, one male, one female] are the omnipotent people who symbolize ultimate harmony between the elements, just like a world that revolves around the elements,” says Agnes Sohier, the female L’Ame-Force singer since Dralion was created in 1999. “Fire and water are not two elements that work well together, but through the strength of the air, the strength of the water, the strength of the fire and the strength of the earth, a balance is achieved.”
Dralion is a fusion of the words “dragon,” representing the East, and “lion,” representing the West, and the production draws further influence from their different worldly philosophies, and from the relationship between man and nature. The show’s cast could serve as a microcosm of those differences, as about 17 nations are represented in a talent pool of 52 people.
“There’s a lot of Asian influence and the relationship between East and West [in the show],” says Sohier, who hails from the founding town of Cirque du Soleil, Montreal, and speaks perfect English with a French accent. “The music is very worldly. It’s a very delightful show, this very colorful and happy and light show, and something that adults and kids alike will enjoy.”
Sohier says that a typical workweek for touring members of Dralion is one night of travel, a day of setting up and a five-day, seven-show schedule per town.
“For the arena tours — I’m not talking about the big tops or the permanent shows [as in Las Vegas, which has permanent Cirque du Soleil shows year-round] — we do 10 weeks of work that we call ‘legs’ and then we have two weeks off,” she says. “Ten weeks on, two weeks off is how the schedule works and has for the last two years, and every single week we change cities and travel on a Sunday night, either by bus if it’s less than six hours or by charter flight if it would be more than a six-hour drive. We get to the next venue extremely early on a Monday and then we start loading on a Tuesday and we do the show Wednesdays through Sundays.
“I love [the lifestyle]. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be doing it, for sure,” adds Sohier. “I love the fact that I’m always surrounded by extreme talent and different cultures. I think we have people from 17 different countries, which makes for a very nice shish kebab of talent, languages, cultures, and ages from about 18 to 55. It’s a very diversified mix and stimulating environment. And you live it within the group and outside the group as well, as we get to see all different parts of the world and perform on every continent.”
Sohier celebrated her 52nd birthday on Saturday, Aug. 25, with two Dralion performances in Baltimore, Maryland.
'Dralion' is a very curious show. It uses the symbolism of the four elements (earth, fire, wind, and water) to tell a story of balance and harmony. Each act of the show represents one of these elements as they blend one into the other, creating a dazzling display that leaves the viewers in awe.
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It has been several years since Boardwalk Hall hosted a production by Cirque du Soleil. The critically acclaimed Cirque du Soleil production Alegría will arrive at Boardwalk Hall from April 6-10 for eight performances. Advance discounted tickets for Alegría are available now online exclusively to Cirque Club members through Dec. 5. Cirque Club membership is free and benefits include access to advance tickets, special offers and exclusive behind the scenes information. To join, go to the Cirque Web site. Tickets for the general public will be available starting Dec. 6 at the Cirque Web site, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling Ticketmaster, 1-800-736-1420. Alegría has entertained more than 10 million people worldwide since its world premiere in Montreal in 1994. In May 2009. Tickets range for adults $35 to $110; children (12 & under) from $28 to $90; military, seniors and students from $30.10 to $100. Through Dec. 5 only, special discounts on tickets are available online to Cirque Club members. The show will be presented on Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30pm; Thursday, April 7 at 7:30pm; Friday, April 8 at 3:30pm and 7:30pm; Saturday, April 9 at 3:30pm and 7:30pm and Sunday, April 10 at 1pm and 5pm....
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