Staged at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, the show began with an African-themed dance sequence, depicting life in a village in an arid region. The show’s viewpoint character, a young African boy (nine year old actor and dancer Miles Brown), goes to the nearby well to fetch water, but falls in, initiating a “down the rabbit hole” sequence of adventures in the underworld. These include a “water ballet” sequence, an “Inferno” sequence, and eleven others making up the hour and a half program.
Since the show is being performed on a standard indoor stage, much of the show is an extended dance review, although each scene includes aerial performers of some type. The background is a full-stage sized video projection, which adds fantastic ambiance to the acts. This could be a bit overwhelming at times, notably in the “Inferno” performance, where the red and black flaming background made it hard to pick out the aerial performers. As with every Cirque de Soliel show I have seen, the performers push the envelope of what is humanly possible. There’s at least one moment in each show where I say, “People can’t do that!” In this performance there were several: a person not only dancing on their hands, but leaping and bounding as well; a man balancing on two cylinders, one 90 degrees from the other; another man who could move isolated parts of his body by the action of individual muscles I would swear most people don’t even have. There were also some truly amazing child performers, such as twin aerialists Valerya and Veronika Tomanmova.
The Cirque performers were joined by volunteers from other Las Vegas shows, and by Grammy-nominated “X Factor” winner singer Leona Lewis, who performed her songs “Bleeding Love, “ and “Thunder”, and was very fine. She is justly famous for her amazing voice.
Kudos definitely to director Hassan El Hajjami, who pulled it all together, including moving in, setting up, and prepping the show in the Smith Center in 24 hours (rehearsals had been conducted in another space). This was a really beautiful and amazing performance for an excellent cause, and we were very glad to have seen it.
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