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Issue Date: April 2012

Animal Attractions

Cirque du Soleil's like-no-other circus act returns with a new production, Dralion.
Jennifer Keirn

Cirque du Soleil's new touring show is half lion, half dragon and all spectacle. Dralion finds the world-famous performance company dreaming up a new creature that merges Eastern and Western cultures while bringing the elements of earth, air, wind and fire to life in human form.

"[The show] borrows from 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic tradition and blends it with our very avant-garde Cirque du Soliel way of doing things," says Sean McKeown, Dralion's artistic director.

Like all of Cirque's 11 touring shows and 10 resident shows, Dralion, which comes to the Wolstein Center April 4 through 8, offers a sensory smorgasbord of highly stylized costuming and sets, clowns, haunting music and every variety of how'd-he-do-that floor and suspended acrobatics.

But that's not to say that Dralion is the same old Cirque.

"We try to reinvent ourselves every show so each time a new show comes to town, people can expect to see something vastly different," McKeown says.

True to Dralion's promise to draw heavily on Chinese acrobatic styles, the show will feature hoop diving, body contortion and balancing tricks, as well as "an amazing, crazy, extreme-sports-style trampoline number that gets everyone's heart beating a little bit faster," says McKeown.

This is the fifth Cirque production to come to Cleveland in the last 10 years, following Quidam, Delirium, Saltimbanco and Alegria. It takes just eight hours to transform the Wolstein Center into Cirque's "little world of magic," says McKeown. "I'm always in the house somewhere during the show, and it's really nice to hear people's oohs and aahs and wows."

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