Teaches the Inner City Youth To Reach Further And Rise Above!
As I settle in to write the article, I cannot help but think of praising socially-conscious companies such as Cirque du Soleil for the indelible impact they make on their young audiences, especially, from some of the disadvantaged backgrounds. A group of about 50 inner-city and community children were invited to attend by the Cirque to their latest production, in collaboration with the Arts4Kids Foundation. The show (inspired by James Cameron’s «Avatar») Toruk – The First Flight took on the United Center arena proportions, figuratively and literally mesmerizing and bewildering both young and young-at-heart. This production — infused with less acrobatics but more theatrics — was a visual feast.
The tale unfolds on the planet Pandora where the sanctified Tree of Souls is in peril of being destroyed by the great lava, and it is up to the two young friends to save it against all odds. Ralu and Entu set on a journey on the quest to save their planet, where they meet many mysterious dwellers, from Direhorse to Austrapedes (straus-flamingo-dinosaur) to Tortopedi (gigantic turtle resembling a shark — you get the idea!) The planet is luckily saved when the colorful “lizard-dragon” Toruk takes flight with its rider…
Cirque’s masters of the multimedia Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon created an unprecedented experience with special effects previously seen only in the movies. The guests were wowed by the surreal visual spectacle, where they were “teleported” to the world where anything seemed to be possible and limited only by their imagination. The show engineered special effects and incredible costumes, provided an eye-full for our group where we experienced a breathtaking waterfall and frightening volcanic lava and hair-raising avalanche cascading onto the climbers ascending the mountain. The visual spectacle did not end there, as the onlookers were treated to colorful gargantuan flowers, engaging puppetry, and the world populated with peculiar characters resembling humans yet sporting beast-like tales.
Cirque’s 37th production mesmerized and thrilled over 155 million spectators covering more than 300 cities on six continents. With every show they keep pushing the envelope with innovation, while pioneering new ways of how we see a circus. And for the first time, the attendees were able to interact with the show by downloading an app.
On behalf of the Arts4Kids Foundation as well as the group of awe-struck youth we would like to express a heartfelt appreciation to Cirque du Soleil, and Silverman Group for working with our organization on providing an experience of a lifetime to the children most of whom have not seen anything like this and would not have been able to experience it. It certainly left an imprint on the young minds, and encouraged to see that anything is possible if they worked hard – to reach further and rise above!
Photo: Gaby Abboud (Arts4Kids group only), Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett © 2015 Cirque du Soleil