Cirque du Soleil‘s ‘Crystal’ breaks ice, pushes boundaries


Gliding through their performance, professional acrobats wow the audience during “Crystal” at Intrust Bank Arena.

Pushing boundaries in a never before seen concept, “Crystal” marvels audiences as Cirque du Soleil’s latest acrobatic feat is performed entirely on a stage of ice. This one of a kind production that combines classic acrobatics with figure skating, extreme skating and dance lands at Intrust Bank Arena over the weekend.

“Cirque is very focused on reinventing itself and pushing boundaries” said Julie Desmarais, publicist for “Crystal.”

With a show of this magnitude, there are many obstacles that come to the surface. Perhaps the largest undertaking of this show was teaching professional acrobats how to perfect their skills on a slippery surface and vice versa. Featuring a cast and crew of just under one hundred people from over 41 different countries, Soleil only recruits the absolute best.

The theatrical elements of this production are unmatched. Inspired by shattering ice crystals and even pinball machines, the props, costumes and special effects glide together to form a glistening composition.

The costumes themselves tell a major part of the story. They are beautifully designed and brilliantly engineered by costume designer, Marie Chantale Vaillancourt. Not only are the pieces visually stunning, but they serve a dual purpose as they are integral to keeping the acrobats safe and secure on stage.

Smaller details, like “props that wouldn’t freeze or shatter when they came in contact with the ice” all needed to be taken into consideration Desmarais explained. This production is a gentle reminder of how beautiful the winter season can be as every miniscule detail of this show is carefully planned out and constructed.

While this show contains all of the expected glitz and stunts of any other Soleil creation, the underlying story behind “Crystal” is sobering. Named after the show herself, the main protagonist Crystal, faces a dull existence until she falls through an ice pond and into a reflection of herself. Through the power of music and modern dance, this realm of reflections shows the dangers that lie in the surge of technology in our lives as well as the soulless monotony of the corporate workplace. Crystal is gifted a pen and through the power of writing and self-expression, she learns how to combat the menaces in her life. With this pen, Crystal finds her voice and breaks the unfocused cycle she was trapped in. She discovers the boundless creativity she carries inside of her, as well as the darkness that can escape if she isn’t careful.

“There is a bit of Crystal in all of us” stated Desmarais. A wildly fanciful family event aided by vivid projections and live music, this celebration of art is truly a joy to watch. “Crystal” is the bit of magical storytelling everyone could use in their life right now.