Cirque has always been home to the exceptional and the unearthly, to all that dazes and dazzles. Fuse that with a live orchestra performance and voila! you have a soundtrack for your amazement.
Sabine van Rensburg from the Zip Zap Circus School raised the curtain with an impressive aerial silk performance. While her lines were exquisite and her strength apparent, her transitions between her tricks, such as climbing up the silks, were slightly laboured. This wouldn’t have been noticeable had her act not been followed by the petite aerialist, Christine Van Loo, effortlessly shimmying up and down her rope. Van Loo’s legs stretch beyond a 180° split into a smiley-face arch and she elegantly tangled herself up in the rope in order to unwind her body down its full length, all perfectly in time to every accent in the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition of Saint-Saëns’ ‘Danse Macabre’.
The cheeky Vladimir Tsarkov played the fool between acts, imitating the previous performers, joking with conductor Theodore Kuchar and blowing kisses at the female artists. Every so often he took a break from mucking about to dazzle the audience with his juggling performances, at one point juggling six rings, bouncing them off and over his body and catching them around his neck. The next type of rings were one size bigger for the hula-hooping Irina Burdetsky as she hula-hooped them around her neck and every other possible part of her body including her ponytail. Bernstein’s ‘Candide Overture’ saw Vitalii Buza take this one step further with his man-size hula hoop (cyrl wheel) which he stood inside and manipulated with his body in order to spin in every direction.
The strongmen of Duo Design balanced, twisted and interlocked their gold-painted bodies into the most impossible of positions, with the larger of the two spectacularly defined artists acting as an anchor for their intense, slow-motion balancing act. Their bodies were so in-synch that even at the slightest of wobbles they were able to improvise and move as one into a less unnatural position in order to continue. In stark contrast to this show of granite-like strength were Alexander Streltsov and Van Loo’s light-as-a-feather aerial duo to Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from Swan Lake. The pair soared above the orchestra and delicately weaved their bodies between the silks, winding and unwinding into the most staggering of suspensions.
The trouble with the circus is that the sight of anything simpler than a performer hanging from their toe on a piece of rope or balancing with one finger on somebody’s head can become, well, dull. Once the standard has been set, the audience anticipates the extraordinary and lives for the “wow” moments. Happily, with Cirque de la Symphonie, extraordinariness is par for the course as each performer defies the known limits of the human body in one continual series of “wow” moments.
Cirque de la Symphonie performed at Grand Arena, GrandWest on 21 & 22 June 2014.
Katy Scott is writer and journalist intern of Street Talk TV. More of her work can be found at katykates.com.