Cirque’s Dralion a feast for the senses

Colour. Light. Sound. Drama. Humour. Cirque du Soleil’s production of Dralion has all of these in explosive quantities.

Billy Chang portrays the element of Fire in Dralion

Colour. Light. Sound. Drama. Humour. Cirque du Soleil’s production of Dralion has all of these in explosive quantities.

Amazing and fantastic don’t even come close to describing the fantasy that unfolded on stage at the South Okanagan Events Centre Wednesday night for the first Penticton audience to participate in the roller coaster of awe, delight and humour the performance takes its viewers on.

Dralion combines many elements drawn from eastern and western cultures: acrobatic styles, ways of looking at nature; even the titular Dralion is a chimera arising from the fusion of a dragon to represent the east and a lion to represent the west.

Through it all, Dralion searches for a thread that transcends those social and cultural boundaries, putting the elements in human form with dancers and acrobats taking on the roles of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to explore the balance of nature.

I found that storyline easy enough to lose though, as I got wrapped up in the sheer spectacular majesty of the extravaganza, watching the performers flit and cavort about the stage, sometimes rising to the aerial rigging or dropping to the ground for dances combined with, juggling and tumbling as the skilled performers explored the limits of their human bodies.

The Dralions were a fantastic show in themselves; making it easy to forget there was a pair of performers under the colourful costumes. At times frightening, other times the creatures were sheer comic relief, humorously shaking their tails as they strut about the stage or simply awe-inspiring as two of the creatures balanced on top of a giant ball, rolling it about the stage.

But just when the spectacular might have gotten too much to bear, the audience was regularly brought back to earth by a trio of classic clowns, sometimes mocking the performers and other times drawing the audience into their act.

The idea of fusion is nothing knew to Cirque productions, which started a little more than 25 years ago as “a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment,” a mix which has been nurtured in the intervening years into an international reputation for its shows, nurturing their art to a level of skill, showmanship and pure entertainment matched by few other live performances.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s not too late. There are still a few days to go see the Cirque du Soleil production of Dralion before it finishes its run on July 3 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.