Cirque du Soleil, the internationally famous circus, is performing in Tel Aviv, Israel, until this weekend, for their first ever performances in the country. Performing their show, titled Alegria, the group’s 55 artists are scheduled for a 20-show run at the Nokia Arena.
Alegria, created by director Franco Dragone and director of creation Gilles Ste-Croix, debuted in 1994 and has since been performed more than 5,000 times. Originally as a touring big top show, Alegria was converted to an arena format beginning with its 2009-2010 North American tour, enabling it to visit cities like Tel Aviv that were previously inaccessible.
Created for Cirque du Soleil’s 10th anniversary, Algeria takes its name from the Spanish word for “jubilation.” Cirque du Soleil’s literature describes the show as “a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth – it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives.”
To prepare for the show, in addition to the 55 performers who make up the cast, another 60 support staff personnel came to Israel, together with more than 20 trailers of equipment. Each show will be limited to 3,500 viewers, far less than the Nokia Arena’s capacity, due to the fact that more than half of the theater will serve as the cast’s training area.
Featuring 400 original costumes and accessories that are handmade in a studio at the company’s home base in Montreal, Alegría’s stage showcases a giant dome and columns. The stage also features spiral ramps on opposing sides.
The musical score, composed by René Dupéré, blends French, Spanish, African, and Mediterranean influences incorporating jazz, pop, tango, Jewish folk music, synthesizers and sampling of street sounds. The show features synchronized trapeze, ariel high bar, hand –balancing , a fire-knife dance and the Power Track-synchronized choreography on a trampoline system hidden underneath the stage floor.
The “Circus of the Sun” was founded by two Canadian street performers, Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier. Each performance blends circus styles from around the world, developing central themes and storylines. Cirque du Soliel draws the audience into the performance through continuous live music, with performers rather than stagehands changing the props.
From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now an international production company with 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from nearly 50 different countries who have performed for more than 100 million people in 300 cities worldwide.