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PREVIEW: Cirque Goes to the Movies (MN Orchestra)

A photo collage of Cirque de la Symphonie in action.

Love a live orchestra, wish there was more to look at? Then the Minnesota Orchestra’s upcoming weekend concerts are just what the doctor ordered.

The program Cirque Goes to the Movies mixes two great things: the orchestra’s popular film music series and the gymnastics-aerial-acrobatic ensemble Cirque de la Symphonie. The result is pure magic. As one critic remarked, “Swan Lake is given a greater grandeur when the birds can leave the pond.

A collage of Cirque du Symphonie promotional photos.

There aren’t too many traveling circus troupes these days, but the Athens, GA-based Cirque de la Symphonie is bucking the curve. Since the troupe was officially formed in 2005, it has performed from Hawaii to Houston, Boston to Baltimore, Daytona Beach to Sioux City, and more. Its eight featured performers collaborate with local orchestras to shake up the traditional concert paradigm, showing that the vertical spaces in concert halls are good for more than just acoustics.

Performers Vitaliy Prikhodko and Pavel Korshunov together form Acro-Duo, a hand-balancing act that showcases precise balance and physical control.

Friday and Saturday’s program features music from 13 films, several stage musicals, and the odd concert favorite that also crops up in a Lady Gaga song. Conducted by Sarah Hicks, it forms part of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Live at Orchestra Hall series. Music from GoldfingerBatmanMission Impossible, and others will be paired to feats of athleticism, aerial routines, and more.

Cirque de la Symphonie – the name translates as “Symphony Circus” – has eight core members:

  • Christine Van Loo, a 7-time national gymnastics champion whose credits include the Big Apple Circus and choreographing aerial work for tours by Aerosmith, Britney Spears, and Paul McCartney.
  • Elena Tsarkova, a kinetic contortionist from Russia who swept the National Russian Circus Festival and uses stage magic to create dazzling quick changes.
  • Vladimir Tsarkov, a gold medal winner at the Cirque de Demain International Festival in France.
  • Vitalii Buza, a veteran of the Russian national gymnastics team and the Moscow State Circus whose repertoire includes duo hand-balancing, straps, Cyr wheel, spinning cube, Chinese pole, and the Russian bar.
  • Vitaliy Prikhodko (an alum of the National Circus of Ukraine and Nikulin’s Moscow Circus) and Pavel Korshunov (a two-time world champion in acrobatics), whose duo act has been immortalized in numerous viral videos.
  • Janice Martin, a performance artist who combines violin and singing opera while dangling from aerial silks.
  • Alexandra “Sasha” Pivaral, an award-winning artist whose credits include Cirque du Soleil and the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival.

The Minnesota Orchestra and Cirque de la Symphonie will perform Cirque Goes to the Movies at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN on Friday, May 18 at 8 PM and Saturday, May 19 at 2 PM.

Twin Cities Arts Reader