Cirque du Soleil Returns to Providence with Crystal on Ice

For the first time ever, the show is hitting the ice with extreme skaters, figure skaters, acrobats and trapeze artists.
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Cirque du Soleil presents Crystal. Photos by Matt Beard.

For the first time ever, Cirque Du Soleil is hitting the ice. The show, Cirque du Soleil presents Crystal, features figure skaters, extreme skaters, acrobats, trapeze artists and more. The production company is finally returning to the road again after a few years’ hiatus with a stop in Providence. We spoke with the show’s artistic director Rob Tannion to find out what to expect when the tour comes to the Dunkin Donuts Center July 7-10.

In “Crystal,” created by Shana Carroll and Sebastien Soldevila, the protagonist Crystal goes on a journey of self-discovery that is a tale for all ages. “Crystal is a story about discovering and finding your own voice,” Tannion says. “The main character, Crystal, is a young woman who feels a little misunderstood and in her own world. She runs away from home and goes out to a frozen pond to get some time to think by herself and escape. Drama hits, the ice cracks, and she falls into this world of her own imagination.”

“We go on an emotional journey with her about self-discovery and facing her shadows, coming to terms with finding yourself in the world and finding love,” he says. “Ultimately, the overarching story is that she gets to the bottom of the pond and decides to fight for air, to push herself up to the surface again, and embrace her strengths, which are imagination and creativity.”

Crystal features forty-three artists from eighteen different countries. There are twenty skaters, eighteen acrobats and a few other characters and musicians from the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ukraine, Mongolia and Australia. “What I find beautiful about it is how the two genres and worlds have not collided, but joined hands to make a beautiful show,” Tannion says. “The show has an incredible range of skills – acrobats, fantastic costumes, music and makeup – but we now have the added bonus of having world class figure skaters and extreme skaters.”

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The skaters include former Olympians and paired couples, as well as what they call “the x-boys” for extreme sports enthusiasts. “It’s almost like an extreme sport meets artistic hockey act, which is really fantastic,” Tannion says. Other acts include feats that we are used to seeing in Cirque du Soleil performances. “Within the acrobatic acts, we have four- or five-meter-long pendulum poles that people fly and flip off over the ice. We have a trapeze act which is visually stunning and emotionally beautiful, and a breathtaking chair-balancing act,” he says. “All of these things are enhanced by visuals. We are touring with twenty-three huge projectors that transform the white ice into a projectionable surface.”

More than anything, the show is happy to go on again, this time with the added bonus of ice. “What I love about the ice is that it gives the show a breath and movement. It’s almost like the lungs of the show and it moves at such a speed and grace that it’s really beautiful,” Tannion says. “We are happy to be back on the road again and connecting with audiences and sharing this moment.”

Buy tickets here.

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