Cirque Eloize’s production iD combines breathtaking circus feats with stunning urban dance for a theatrical experience not easily forgotten.
Contributed By Dawn Seow
An inline skater pursues an aerial silk dancer. A contortionist is in a romance with a breakdancer. A biker faces off with street dancers.
Created by Cirque Eloize director Jeannot Painchaud, iD pairs 12 circus disciplines with urban dance moves, bringing circus performance to whole new heights. On tour since 2009, the month-long show comes to Asia for the first time at the Marina Bay Sands.
Weaving together urban dance and 10 different circus arts, iD showcases the unique talents of an international troupe of artists, displaying skills such as juggling, contortion, in-line skating, stilts, Cyr Wheel, hand balancing, straps, bike trial, Chinese pole and aerial silks—all building up to a spectacular finale on the dynamic trampowall. Audiences can further feast their eyes on the three-dimensional video projection moving in sync with the music and the performer’s moves.
Painchaud says, “I imagined this show at the heart of a city, where the omnipresence of an image causes us to lose our reference points. I sought to create an estheticism at the crossroads of comic books, science-fiction movies and the rich universe of graffiti.”
iD is the seventh original production from Cirque Éloize. Founded in Canada in 1993, the company has performed in more than 400 cities. In fact, Cirque Éloize has partnered with Cirque du Soleil for a long-term relationship based on common creative visions and international entertainment appeal.
City News spoke with Cyr Wheel and trampowall performer Josianne Levasseur and urban dancer Melly Mel on how they became part of this physical extravaganza.
How did you get involved in Cirque Eloize’s iD?
J: I started doing gymnastic at age 9 in school. I also took part in some national competitions in Canada until I was 19. After that I decided to join a circus, so I auditioned and got my first contract for Cirque du Soleil. When I finished, I was looking to continue but I don’t know where or how I was to do it. I met the head coach for Cirque Eloize and did my first production, Cirque Orchestra. I have been with Cirque Eloize for a little more than 10 years now. I did many different disciplines, like aerial, and now I’m concentrating on the trampowall and the Cyr Wheel.
M: I started dancing since I was born. My mother was a singer and my father was a musician so music has always been in the house. I started dancing professionally at age 14 as a technical dancer with a ballet company but at the same time I loved free-styling. So, after I finished with the company about two or three years later, I started to do street dancing, landing myself in movies. Someone then asked me to audition for this show, and I got in.
Why street dance over ballet? Isn’t it like going a notch down?
M: What I really love about street dance is the freedom of it; when I express myself in dancing I really don’t think, I just do it. I find that in technical dancing, especially in ballet, you’re more restrained—I always felt like I was in a box. Street dancing wasn’t so big at that time so when I auditioned I found myself to be better than the other dancers because I was a technical dancer and that I was free in my movements.
What does “iD” stand for?
M: It stands for identity. We [the performers] are all from different walks of life and we come from seven different countries so it really represents our colors and our universe. It’s not a really big storyline, just two crews representing themselves in the city.
J: And trying to stand out.
It must be physically demanding to be a cast member in iD—how do you keep up with it all?
J: I try to train every other day when I’m on break. During the show period, it is already demanding enough so sometimes it’s just about stretching and conditioning the muscles—this is really important in the long run. To prevent injury, you need to make sure you don’t forget any muscles when you work out. When we get injured, massage or physiotherapy helps us recover.
M: Drink lots of water, eat right and then train and train. As a dancer, I would say I go to the club and dance, which is the way I train. Personally, carbs make me tired, so I try not to eat three hours before the show, and I also keep myself hydrated with lots of water, especially coconut water because it contains a lot of potassium and that’s really good for the joints. Ginger’s also very good. I also try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
The show plays from June 1 to 26 at Marina Bay Sands Grand Theater. Tickets at S$65 to S$125 from www.MarinaBaySands.com/Ticketing or call +65 6688 8826.