Whimsical “Corteo” Dazzles

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Childlike charm meets jaw-dropping feats of wonder in this fantastic family outing!

Cirque du Soleil presents:
Corteo (July 26 – 29; All ages)
Bridgestone Arena
501 Broadway, Nashville
615-770-2000 • bridgestonearena.com
Remaining showtimes: Fri 7:30 p.m., Sat 3:30 & 730 p.m., Sun 1 & 5 p.m.
Tickets: $33.50 – $120

Anticipate an out-of-this-world spectacle riding high on dazzling feats during Cirque du Soleil: Corteo. Cirque du Soleil (CdS) has a long history of entertaining audiences of all ages since 1984. It’s a favorite brand, with 19 different productions currently running, including arena, big top and resident shows.

I’ve experienced several CdS productions throughout the years, and Corteo is certainly the best. There have been a few CdS shows in recent years with a heavier focus on theatricality than classic acrobatics (like Toruk, the show based on Avatar, that was in Nashville a couple years ago). Corteo is chock full of traditional Cirque performances, including and array of mind-blowing acrobatics, fierce aerial choreography, juggling, high-flying teeterboard artists and more.

“Cyr Wheel”

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Corteo does have a tale to tell. Mauro — an elderly circus clown with a whimsical, childlike heart — dreams about his funeral. However, it’s not a morose story. In fact, while his fantastical circus life flashes before him — and to the audience — the funeral becomes a joyous celebration of his life. Mauro is woven into many of the jaw-dropping acts that fill the stage during the two-and-a-half-hour extravaganza.

The immense skill, dexterity and athleticism of the performers will astonish your kids and YOU! From the hypnotic upside down tight rope walking illusion to the energizing Cyr Wheel act, there is so much awe-inspiring talent that strikes a chord with the child in us all.

“Bouncing Beds”

All kids — and adults — who love jumping on beds will love the mesmerizing Bouncing Beds act. Two giant beds with trampoline mattresses accommodate several acrobats as they flip up, over, then back and forth. Then there’s the balancing on the tips of their toes on the bed rails ever so briefly before sailing back down for more bouncing delight.

Another genuine crowd-pleasing sequence is the spellbinding Helium Dance in which the audience gets to be part of the act. The sassy Clowness, a little person, is harnessed in a giant helium balloon bouquet. Mauro sends her sailing up into the top of the arena out over the audience. As she gently floats down toward the crowd, Mauro charges the audience to give her a boost by pushing up on the bottom of her feet to send her back up. It’s an incredible example of circus awe.

NON-ACROBATIC ACTS & AN ENCHANTING END

“Duo Straps”

Corteo does encounter three non-acrobatic acts. There’s the dynamic number where several of the artist perform a haunting melody on crystal glasses and Tibetan bowls while Mr. Loyal, aka “The Whistler,” shows off his impressive whistling-a-tune-on-key talent. The other two — “Golf” and “Teatro Intimo” — are the least favorite elements of Corteo. “Golf” doesn’t fit well within the storyline’s framework and becomes too much of a departure from the rest of the show.

While there are humorous slapstick antics within the clown-blundering production of “Romeo and Juliet” in the “Teatro Intimo” scene in Act II, it runs too long, leaving the audience eager to get back to the acrobatics.

Corteo dives back into its showcase of human agility with juggling, hula-hooping and the beautifully enchanting aerial straps duet that wraps up with a superb sparkle.

At the end, an angel-winged Mauro glides high across the sky on a bicycle while his final farewell takes place on the stage below as performers flip and swing across horizontal bars arranged in a giant cube.

This Cirque du Soleil production certainly delivers your money’s worth, and it’s a splendid experience you and your kids can enjoy together.

“Helium Dance”

CORTEO: FUN FACTS

1) Corteo, which means “cortege” in Italian, is a joyous procession, a festive parade imagined by a clown.

2) Corteo first premiered in Montreal in 2005 and has been to more than 60 cities in 19 different countries as a Big Top show before transforming into an arena show in 2016.

3) The 2.5-hour show features 16 acts.

3) Corteo features 51 performers from 18 different countries. Russia and the Ukraine have the highest representation. Other performers are from Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Romania, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan and others.

4) The labyrinth in the middle of the circular stage is an exact reproduction of the classic design on the floor of the aisle in Chartres Cathedral in France.

5) The show includes more than 260 costumes made from 100 different fabrics. The smallest shoe size in a children’s size 3, and the largest is an 18 EEE.

6) Set Designer Jean Rabasse divided the Grand Chapiteau and its rotating stage in two. With each half of the audience facing the other, they not only see the performance but also have a performer’s eye view of the audience. It’s a spectacular first for Cirque du Soleil.

7) The inspiration for the show’s curtain is an 1855 painting by the Parisian artist Adolphe Willette.

8) For a single year of operation, performers require more than 200 bottles of liquid foundation, hundreds of eye shadows, blushes, pencils and lipsticks as well as more than 40 liters of make-up remover.

9) More than 8 million people have seen the show.

10) The “Lustres” — the giant chandeliers floating in mid-air above the stage — include more than 4,000 sparkling “jewels” and garlands of reflective acrylic spheres.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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