Cirque du Soleil is known for its innovative, artistic and epic shows! Over 200 million people have seen Cirque shows from “O” and The Beatles “Love” shows in Vegas to traveling shows in 450 cities around the world! Now they have done it again with “Crystal”, their first show on ice! Combining figure skating, acrobatics, comedy and music, “Crystal” tells the story of a young woman trying to discover who she is, by the power of her pen!
Sarasota Lakewood Ranch residents Robin Johnstone and Andy Buchanan, husband and wife skaters are appearing in the production. They worked for Feld Entertainment for years and met working on “Disney on Ice” playing Jasmine and Aladdin. They also performed in “Stars of Holiday on Ice” and have also worked behind the scenes as choreographers for Disney’s ice show “Follow Your Heart”. Andy is now in charge of hiring for ice skaters for Cirque shows and Robin is one of the skaters who plays “Crystal” as the leads switch to give each other rest during tours. Andy told me they have rehearsed at the Sailor Circus Tent for an aerial performance they were doing on ice. They have lived in Sarasota for five years and Andy said “we absolutely love Sarasota, it’s so beautiful”.
This is a show for any age! There are stunts for the kids to marvel at, humor with great comedic timing, juggling and it wouldn’t be Cirque without its swings and poles to keep the audience at the edge of their seats. “Crystal” takes you on a journey of life, from children’s playgrounds to city office workers in suits and briefcases. The stage changes in the blink of an eye from Crystal’s home to a hockey game with extreme skaters and their tricks! For those who are figure skater fans, this is the show for you! Beautiful, solo and pair skating are a major part of the show. There is a talented, daring cast of 35 skaters and acrobats from the USA, Canada, Russia, Europe, Australia and around the globe.
Cirque is at the top of their game with stage sets and lighting. Graphics and images on the ice add intricate detail to the already well-oiled production numbers. The show travels with 43 people on the road crew and then hires an additional 100 local crew in every city to set up and break down. They came into Tampa two days ahead of show to set up the arena and the large area of wardrobe needed for a show this size. There are many duplicate costumes, wigs, skates and shoes. Not everyone is on skates but, special shoes must be produced for performances on the ice. Live musicians and vocalists create the sounds and songs that weave the story together. Beyonce’s “Halo” is one of the popular tunes on the soundtrack to a breathtaking performance!
“Crystal” will be playing through Sunday with both day and evening performances. A great way to spend some holiday time seeing a spectacular Cirque du Soliel show! The Amalie Arena is located in downtown Tampa on Channelside Drive. Check Ticket Master for tickets. Happy Holidays!
Photos courtesy of Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post