I had the pleasure of spending my Valentine’s Day attending H-E-B Center‘s opening performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal. I have attended several Cirque performances over the years but was told I would be especially enamored with this experience. We arrived a little early and was greeted by a funny, talented and athletic clown passing out snowballs to the audience. He would be making frequent appearances throughout the show.
“Crystal – a Breakthrough Ice Experience” is so much more than just an ice show. Cirque du Soleil was founded back in 1984 and has grown to become the largest theatrical producer in the world. Each show is a fusion of circus styles from around the world, with its own central theme and storyline. Cirque has explored dozens of different performance concepts but Crystal is the first of its kind. It has pushed the boundaries by combining incredible ice skating with their unique acrobatic feats.
The show begins with the audience being introduced to Crystal, a red-headed young woman who falls through the ice and finds herself in some sort of alternate dimension where she embarks on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery. Crystal is a dreamer of sorts who seems dissatisfied and looking for something more in life. Throughout the performance, we fall deeper in love with this sweet misfit while constantly being brought to the edges of our seats.
In true Cirque du Soleil fashion, the costumes, makeup, and sets were stunning. The skating, music, and choreography were beautiful, and the story magical. What makes Crystal stand out above others is that all of the crazy-frightening acrobatics are performed on a frozen playground. That element of danger definitely amps up the excitement of each performance. While safety wires were used on some of the performances, there are spellbinding aerial acts where the acrobats were completely free from harnesses or safety equipment. The show features several pop music tracks including selections from Beyoncé, U2, and Sia.
There are several scenes that stood out but as a native Canadian, I especially appreciated the hockey scene, where Cirque’s world-class skaters delivered a crazy high-energy performance of aerial flips, jumps, and high-speed extreme skating. The skaters seemed to turn the hockey arena into a giant pinball machine where each skater whizzed by, jumping forward, backward, and over the hockey nets. The entire scene was a total blast. Another favorite moment was in a scene where Crystal sees her future-self working an office job. During what seems to be an oppressive day at work, one of the acrobats performs an unbelievable balancing act atop a dozen or so chairs gently placed one on top of the other.
Bottom line is that Crystal is not only wildly fun but an incredible work of art. The talent of the cast is never-ending, and the entire concept is out of this world.
For ticket information, visit http://www.hebcenter.com/events/detail/cirque-du-soleil-crystal
For performance information, visit https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal