By Lauren Vita Sgarlato, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The show that seems like an amazing dream of circus acts and acrobatics, Cirque du Soleil (French for Circus of the Sun), is currently touring Brazil with a stop in Rio on December 8th. It will be played until January 8th at Marina da Glória, in Glória. Out of the 29 different shows of Cirque du Soleil, Varekai, for the first time, was chosen for the Brazilian tour.

Cirque Du Soleil, Varekai in Melbourne
Cirque Du Soleil's Varekai performance in Melbourne (taken without realizing no cameras are allowed), photo by whoALSE/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Since 2006, Brazil has only hosted three other Cirque du Soleil shows besides Varekai. Cirque du Soleil performed its oldest show, Saltimblanco, on December 10, 2006 in Rio.  The next show to arrive was Alegría, which toured Brazil from September 2007 to June 2008. To this day, it is one of the most popular touring shows. The latest show was Quidam, which was in the country from June 2009 to May 2010.

The Varekai show is a self-described “captivating forest inhabited by whimsical and enchanted creatures.” Meaning “wherever,” in the Romani language, it is a show that gives tribute to those with nomadic souls. The plot is based around the Greek myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun, thereby melting his wax wings.

In Varekai, however, instead of falling into the sea and drowning, Icarus falls into a lavish forest, where he is taught how to fly again. As described in the Varekai press material: “The impossible becomes possible in stunning displays of skill and power set against innovative music and otherworldly sets, interwoven with vivid choreography that speaks to all in the universal language of movement.”

There are a total of 56 performers in Varekai. Their impressive acts range from Icarian games, where the performer lies on his back and foot juggles, to aerial straps, where two performers, suspended only by wrist straps, glide above the stage.

Aerial Straps in Cirque du Soleil, Varekai
Aerial straps in Cirque du Soleil, Varekai, coming to Rio on December 8th, image recreation.

Not only does Cirque du Soleil amaze with acrobatics, the music captures you as well. The sound of Varekai is a combination of Hawaiian rituals, Armenian melodies, eleventh century French troubador songs, and contemporary gospel.

“I have some DVDs of other shows and some soundtracks at home. I think both the music and the stories of Cirque du Soleil are magnificent,” explains Diego Cardoso, a huge fan who has already seen the Alegría and Saltimbanco performances.

Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1984 by two street performers. Initially, the company had only 75 employees. Originally intended to be a one year project, it is still going strong to this day with over 5,000 employees worldwide and has been performed on every continent except Antarctica.

Tickets for Varekai can be purchased online or in person at the ticket office in Barra. Unfortunately, prices are on the expensive side, but there are four different sectors to choose from ranging from R$360 down to R$140.

Prices may be steep, but that has done little to dampen the spirits and excitement of the audience.  Attendee Dale Montemayor announced, “To be honest this show was almost too awesome for me to watch!”

While Varekai is only in Rio for one month, there are opportunities to catch the show in Brazil until August 2012 with performances in Belo Horizonte, Brasília , Recife, Salvador, Curitiba, and Porto Alegre.


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