Cirque du Soleil: Varekai

Varekai is currently playing at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia for seven performances only through Sunday, November 26. Buy tickets here.

I’m not gonna lie; we’re huge fans of Cirque du Soleil here at Roarbots HQ. The number of different shows we’ve seen runs into the double digits, and we had the privilege of touring the international headquarters in Montreal. (Check out our reviews of Paramour, Toruk: The First Flight, La Nouba, and Dralion + backstage tour!)

We even had the pleasure of seeing Varekai once before, several years ago when it was previously in Philadelphia. The show is back, and if you’ve never seen it before, don’t miss this chance. It will take its final curtain call in December, so this is literally your last chance to catch Varekai before it goes away.

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Cirque du Soleil: Paramour

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(See here for more Cirque du Soleil reviews from The Roarbots!)

After more than 30 years and nearly three dozen different shows, Cirque du Soleil has clearly become an institution. Over the years, they’ve taken their fair share of risks and exploded the boundaries of what was considered possible not only on stage but also by the human body.

There have been touring big-top shows, touring arena shows, and resident theater shows, and each has wowed and blown away audiences around the world. Not content to rest on its laurels, though, the brand continues to stretch the horizons of what’s possible and what audiences should expect from a Cirque du Soleil performance.

The touring Toruk show is evidence of how far they’re willing to stray from their core to put on a spectacle. Added to that list? The brand-new Broadway show, Paramour.

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Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight

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Let’s start with a couple disclaimers.

#1: I wasn’t a fan of James Cameron’s Avatar, and I’m not particularly interested in the three sequels he’s currently working on. (I have to admit, though, that Pandora: The World of Avatar – the incredibly immersive land coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017 – looks astounding.)

#2: I’m a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil, have seen 13 different shows (including Varekai, Dralion, and La Nouba) and have even toured its International Headquarters in Montreal.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the brand-new mashup of those two words: Cirque du Soleil’s 37th production since 1984: Toruk – The First Flight. As I said, I’ve seen 13 different Cirque du Soleil shows, and Toruk is completely unlike any of them. It is utterly unique for the company in many ways.

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Upcoming: Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight

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I have to admit, I wasn’t really a fan of James Cameron’s Avatar, and I’m not particularly interested in the three sequels he’s currently working on. But I am absolutely interested in what he’s doing with the franchise off the big screen.

What I’ve seen of Pandora: The World of Avatar, the incredibly immersive land coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017, looks astounding. And as a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil, I’m thrilled to see their take on the world of Pandora, the 10-foot-tall Na’vi, and the Toruk (the flying dragon creatures).

My complaints about the movie aside, it was a gorgeous film with a fully realized alien planet and creatures that lend themselves to the Cirque du Soleil stage quite nicely. Toruk will be Cirque du Soleil’s 37th production since 1984, and I’m really looking forward to this one.

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Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba

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(Check out some of our previous adventures with Cirque du Soleil: Dralion, Varekai, and our tour of International Headquarters in Montreal.)

La Nouba was the first Cirque du Soleil show I ever saw. Since I’ve now seen more than 10 different Cirque shows, I guess you could say this is the one that made me a fan. I recently had the chance to see the show again, and it didn’t disappoint.

La Nouba premiered in Orlando in 1998 and was the third resident show created (Mystère and O in Las Vegas were the first two). The theater it calls home (on Downtown Disney’s West Side at the Walt Disney World Resort) was the first freestanding, permanent structure built for Cirque du Soleil, and Walt Disney Imagineering was involved in its design and construction.

Despite what many think, though, La Nouba is not owned or operated by Disney. Downtown Disney is its home, and it’s certainly a major draw to the area, but it’s not part of the larger Walt Disney World Resort. In other words, don’t expect Mickey and Goofy to be part of the highwire act.

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Backstage at Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion + 5 questions!

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We recently attended one of the final performances of Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion (in Charlottesville, VA), and Zoey had the opportunity to interview one of the performers before the show…who was also kind enough to give us a backstage tour after the show!

Over the summer, we had the opportunity to tour Cirque du Soleil’s International Headquarters in Montreal. The kids loved the tour and seeing how everything was made, but this performance of Dralion was the first time they saw a live Cirque du Soleil show in person.

Surprising no one, they loved it. Read our review for details of the show itself.

Before the show, Zoey sat down with Alejandro “Toro” Cuenca, who is one of the main performers in the trampoline act. During the act, Toro and three other aerialists use trampolines to seemingly float through the air and walk up walls. It looks like a blast, and I’d love to try it sometime.

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Cirque du Soleil: Dralion

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(Dralion is currently playing at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA, through Sunday, October 26. Buy tickets here.)

Let me begin by saying that I thought we had never seen Dralion before. Halfway through the show, we realized that we had. (The clown act gave it away for us.) That’s how many different Cirque du Soleil shows we’ve seen. We’re in the double digits now.

To say we’re fans is putting it mildly.

For the purposes of this site, please feel free to check out our visit to International Headquarters in Montreal and our review of the touring show Varekai.

Dralion is one of the longest-running Cirque du Soleil shows (if not the longest-running). It premiered in 1999 and has been touring the world for the past 15 years. Sadly, though, the show will come to an end next year, ending this impressive run.

Therefore, if you want to see this one and it’s coming near you soon, I’d highly recommend you catch it before it’s gone forever.

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Upcoming: Cirque du Soleil: Dralion

show_dralionCirque du Soleil’s touring show Dralion is coming to Charlottesville, VA—and just in time for homecoming at the University of Virginia!

If you’ve read The Roarbots for any length of time, you know that we’re fans of Cirque du Soleil. Check out the recap of our tour through International Headquarters in Montreal and our review of another touring show—Varekai.

Dralion premiered in 1999 and has been going strong (in front of some 11 million people) ever since. Similar to Varekai, the show began its life under the big top but is now performed in arenas. If our experience with Varekai is any judge, they haven’t sacrificed quality at all to make this transition.

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Cirque du Soleil: Varekai

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(Varekai is currently playing at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia through Sunday, September 14. Buy tickets here.)

It’s no secret that the Roarbots love Cirque du Soleil. We’ve see eight different shows and recently had the amazing opportunity to tour the International Headquarters in Montreal. If you haven’t read our trip report from that tour, make sure you go and do that right now.

Go ahead. We’ll wait for you.

Whereas other groups try to cash in by using the word cirque in their name but end up delivering mixed results of varying quality, Cirque du Soleil is the original. They’re who those other guys are mimicking, and they consistently deliver stellar performances of the highest quality possible.

Varekai is no different.

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Tour of Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters

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Fair warning: This is a long post with a lot of pictures. However, if you’re a fan of Cirque du Soleil, it’s totally worth the journey.

Mrs. Roarbot and I are big fans of Cirque du Soleil. Although some of the shows share similar acts, each is remarkably unique from the others. They’re all so distinct that it sometimes seems unfair to compare them. If pressed to name a favorite of the eight or nine I’ve seen, I’d probably say (a resident show in Las Vegas) for the sheer spectacle it presents. It was the first Cirque du Soleil show to present a cohesive storyline, and it is one of the most technologically advanced productions ever made. Plus, the music is really great.

The 5yo Roarbot is also really into gymnastics, so she’s been enthralled by most of the acrobatic acts she’s seen on YouTube or DVD.

Since 1984, there have been a total of 35 different Cirque du Soleil shows. Currently, there 19 shows in simultaneous production around the world. The Cirque du Soleil brand has truly become an artistic juggernaut that is blatantly emulated by scores of smaller troupes (sometimes by simply using the word cirque to lure in audiences).

On a recent trip to Montreal, which is Cirque du Soleil’s hometown, we were fortunate enough to be invited to tour the organization’s international headquarters. Built in 1997, expanded twice in 2001 and 2007, and housing some 1,400 full-time employees, the building is not open for public tours. This made the private tour given to the Roarbots all the more special.

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