Cirque du Soleil Baltimore Totem April and May 2011
Have you been wondering what the big blue and yellow tents are on the side of 95 as you travel into Baltimore? Wonder no more! The big blue and yellow tents are the "Grand Chapiteau", an over 2500 seat, climate controlled Big Top built to house Cirque Du Soleil's Totem in Baltimore. The waterfront area in the Westport area of Baltimore City began it's more than $1 billion renewal with a $1 million parking lot which is housing the Big Top through May 1st, 2011. When Cirque's Totem leaves Baltimore, the parking lot will remain. Located on the Patapsco River, Westport has 5 times more waterfront than the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. There are big plans to revitalize the Westport area, an area that has seen it's share of neighborhood decline. Developers are planning to bring office and residential buildings, restaurants and more to the area. They have plans to reach out to current residents for employment opportunities and to help bring the area back to it's former glory, even offering grants to restore the facades of existing residential properties.
Billy, Sydney and I decided this morning to see the show, and I couldn't be happier (unless the tickets were less expensive!). We purchased tickets for the 4 PM show, $63 for Syd (2-12) and $81 each for Billy and I. There were ticket fees, convenience fees and $20 for a program and cd. All in all, not an inexpensive afternoon. We could have paid more for premium seats, but chose not to.
On this rainy Good Friday afternoon, we made our way downtown, paid the $15 (cash only) for parking and headed into the Big Top. Our last minute seats meant we were in the last row, we could see everything, well almost. The seats we had were a tiny bit obstructed, causing us to crane our necks when there was something going on in the back. We spent part of the 1st Act in those seats, then, since no one was next to us most of the way down the row, we were able to scoot down about 10 seats and were able to see alot better. They even provided special booster seats for the kids, a really neat touch.
The show lasted about 2 1/2 hours including a 30 minute intermission. I think the reason the intermission is so long is because there were lines at the bathrooms, quite fancy portapotties, and they hope to get folks to shell out their mortgage payment for souvenir's, cocktails and popcorn. There were lots of folks willing to do that! We weren't. I guess you have to pay for that $1 million investment somehow!
WOW! was the word of the day this afternoon at Cirque du Soleil's Totem in Baltimore. The music, performed live on stage behind the "marshland", set the tone for each act. Syd had trouble staying in her seat (one of the benefits of getting a back row seat!!). The acrobatics were phenomenal! I was wow'd by the fluidity of movement during feats of amazing strength high upon the trapeze bar or hanging from a 15 foot pole held only by one shoulder of another performer. There were performers defying gravity with each bounce of the trampoline or flexible bar. There were women spinning what appeared to be fabric squares from both feet and both hands and passing them, still spinning to each other. There was a unicycle troupe flipping bowls from their feet to other unicyclist heads while cycling around the stage. There were performers on rings swinging precariously over the audience. There were silly moments, causing the audience to laugh uproariously, breaking frequently into enthusiastic applause.
The stage opened up, and acted as a screen for very realistic backdrops ("movies" of waves rolling in, water drying into cracked earth, volcanic eruptions, streams to be rowed on). The mechanics were the result of the minds of an army of geniuses! Phenomenol by all accounts! The costumes were colorful, sparkly and body hugging. And oh, what bodies. The physiques of both the men and women would make even the most in shape of us envious.
The standing ovation and multiple curtain calls topped off the high energy finale number that the performers seemed to really enjoy. Wow! Wow! Wow!
I truly believe that God smiles as these folks perform, using their muscled, almost liquid bodies to perform movements that seem that they should be impossible.
We asked Syd what her favorite part of the afternoon was...her answer? EVERYTHING! I LOVED the "Circus of L.A.". While she didn't get the name right, she sure echoed the sentiment of all the Cirque attendees. If you get the chance to see a Cirque performance, please take it. You will walk out knowing that your body can do more than sit on the couch and I can almost guarantee that you will smile, as I am, when you think about the performances you have just seen.
Tickets are still available for most performances. Get the information for Baltimore performance thru May 1st here and link there to other cities around the country.
Cirque du Soleil Totem in Baltimore April and May 2011
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