Photo of fire dance
Photo credit: Al Seib
Take the most amazing acrobats, contortionists, gymnasts, tumblers, trapeze artists, fire eaters, and strong men, add a dash of clowns, surround them with a host of live musicians, swath them in the most imaginative costumes, bathe them in creative lighting arrangements and what do you have? If you said Cirque du Soleil, you've undoubtedly been dazzled by this talented crew before.

The folks that elevate the human side of the circus to an art form are back in Denver, following up on their earlier successes of Quidom and Dralion with Alegría, which has entertained millions of people worldwide since 1994.

Even after having seen five of Cirque's shows, I am still amazed by the new twists they put on traditional skills. In "Fast Track", two crossed runways that are actually elongated trampolines are the stage for an aggressive group of graceful golden acrobats that hang in mid-air longer than a Michael Jordan highlight reel.

Bungee cords are put to surreal use in "Flying Man," sort of an Olympic cross on rocket fuel: we watch Alexandre Dobrynine flip and spin as if he were on the rings all the while swinging and soaring from the floor to the roof of the big top, like a whirling Dervish on a kite.

Photo of contortionists
Photo credit: Al Seib
Imagine two accomplished contortionists gracefully evolving through the most impossible postures while balancing on top of each other, or a tribal dance performed with flaming batons spun and tossed and caught as if they were just so many sticks.

And for those of you who missed Slava's Snow Show a few years back, his act has been recreated as "The Storm" by Yuri Medvedev. This astounding, poignant story, told by a master clown, is not to be missed.

All in all, a splendid collection of astonishing acts artfully woven together as only Cirque du Soleil can do it. Alegría runs through July 28th at the Pepsi Center. 1-800-678-5440.

Bob Bows


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