Cirque du Soleil celebrates its 30th anniversary by sending one of its most enchanting shows on the road.
Amaluna, or “Mother Moon,” now playing under a tent at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens for a month, is the opposite of most Cirque productions in that its cast is 70 percent female. The band, which cranks out muscular classic rock-styled riffs that enter Metallica territory, is 100 percent women — including a guitarist in a long blue robe who brings to mind Purple Rain-era Prince.
Girl Power? You better believe.
Cirque founder Guy Laliberté’s stated plan to showcase the “strength and beauty of women, the talent, virtuosity and grace of the female figure” was a sound decision. Tony-winning director Diane Paulus (Pippin) creates a sense of intimacy with her story of an island populated by women and guided by the cycles of the moon.
Prospera (Julie McInnes), the formidable queen, directs her daughter Miranda’s coming-of-age ceremony through set pieces like one that features athletes who spin glowing watery orbs — and each other — using their upturned feet. Prospera conjures a storm amid a thundering cello solo that leads to one of Amaluna’s highlights: the Duo Trapeze segment performed by Anouk Blais and Guillaume Mesmin.
Duo Trapeze features the God and Goddess of the Wind as they perform an aerial ballet on straps. The two achieve a delightful sense of playfulness and chemistry as they intertwine their bodies and come apart in space. Similarly, the show’s leads, Miranda (Iuliia Mykhailova) and Romeo (aren’t they always Romeos?) who bond through trials set forth by Prospera and Cali, a meddlesome lizard man, exhibit a comfort level together that helps sell the story.
That story, told through allegory and eye-catching visuals like all Cirque shows, delivers a tale with a bit more clarity than some previous productions — despite the de riguer clown act that always seems to go on for too long.
But you don’t come to Cirque du Soleil for the stories, even ones like this that borrow from The Tempest and The Magic Flute. The Montreal-based company doesn’t skimp on what audiences have come to expect since 1984. The acrobats amaze, the inhumanly flexible contortionists make rubber bands look starched, and the sense of magic delights. For example, a diaphanous piece of costuming seems to dance a solo paso doble without visible means of support.
Evgeny Kurkin, as Romeo, hopes to reunite with Miranda in Act II’s Chinese Pole segment. His face-down plunge, a metaphor for falling in love, is a collective gasp moment — a Cirque trademark.
But the Balance Goddess (Lili Chao-Rigolo) who methodically builds a mobile in tense silence save for some of her exhalations, might be the one you talk about afterwards. Chao-Rigolo makes a sculpture out of 13 palm leaf ribs, using one of her legs and one of her arms. Her mesmerizing act is one of Cirque’s most unusual offerings yet.
Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.
If you go
What: Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna”
Where: Next to Sun Life Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr., Miami Gardens
When: Runs through Jan. 25. Show times Tuesday-Sunday vary, no shows Monday
Tickets: $47-$90 regular seats, $265 VIP Rouge includes drinks, food, souvenir program, extras
Information: www.cirquedusoleil/amaluna or 877-924-7783.