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.
But 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.
Airborne 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?"