Review - Cirque du Soleil's 'Quidam' Pops Into Brooklyn


Sporting what might possibly be the company's most vague and oblique storyline ever, Cirque du Soleil's touring company of Quidam (Latin for "anonymous passerby") pops into town for a brief stint at the new Barclays Center.

Review - Cirque du Soleil's 'Quidam' Pops Into BrooklynBut with all due respect to AlesSandra Gonzalez, who plays the "bored but curious" little girl with a big, red balloon, Rafael Munhoz, who plays Boum-Boum, the lifeless fellow whose soul refuses to leave his body, and whoever it is who plays the headless guy with an umbrella, nobody really goes to see Cirque du Soleil for the acting.

By Cirque standards, Quidam is an intimate affair, foregoing some of the company's more spectacular and flashy acts. The earthbound, less populated moments tend to get swallowed up in the large arena, but the skills and strengths of its balancing, contorting and hand/eye coordinating artists are still awe-inspiring and gasp-inducing.

Cory Sylvester spins in and out of the German wheel (top photo), controlling his circular cage with gravity-defying expertise. Wei Liang Lin shows dazzling juggling dexterity handling the diabolo sticks and a troupe of rope-skippers maneuver through complicated choreographed patterns.

Review - Cirque du Soleil's 'Quidam' Pops Into BrooklynAirborne acts include aerial contortionist Tanya Burka intertwining within a hanging column of silk and the pairing of Julie Cameron and Lais Camila pivoting and twirling through suspended hoops.

Certainly the most artistically beautiful feature of the evening is the display of muscle, flexibility and balance by Yves Decoste and Valentyna Sidenko (bottom photo) who never lose contact with each other as they bend and contort themselves into a sequence of human statues. Similar grace and strength is demonstrated by hand-balancer Anna Ostapenko and a 15-member troupe specializing in Banquine, a synchronized tradition of human towers and acrobatics that dates back to the Middle Ages.

If you're sitting in the front rows you might be selected by clown Toto Castineiras to partake in an amusing silent movie recreation, which may or may not be part of the plot.

With Cirque du Soleil, it's best to never ask "Why?"

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.