The incredible acrobatics and artistic talents of Cirque du Soleil have returned to Atlanta with their second newest show, Amaluna. The name comes from the blending of two words, “ama” meaning mother, and “luna” meaning the moon, and a symbol of femininity. The show, written and directed by Diane Paulus, is a story about love and relationships. The storyline easily lends itself to the 70% female cast, and entirely female band, a first in Cirque du Soleil history.
The story is about the coming-of-age of Miranda, daughter of the queen of the island, Prospera. As she directs the ceremony to celebrate Miranda, she creates a storm that causes a group of young men to land on the island, and thus begins an epic and tumultuous tale of love between Miranda and the group’s brave leader, Romeo.
As we started filling the seats, it sounded like snakes hissing or voices speaking an unknown language. Closer to the start of the show, performers dressed in some of the most elaborate costumes flowed through the audience, waving their butterfly wings, or Amazonian tales and stealing popcorn. The lights dimmed and we were transported to the mysterious island Amaluna for Miranda’s ceremony.
During the show there were eight unique acts, seemingly disconnected from each other, but still working to tell the underlying story. My favorites were the Waterbowl and Uneven Bars. The performer playing Miranda was able to contort her body in almost unimaginable ways, and do so between dives into the water bowl. During the uneven bars, the performers proved their artistic and athletic talents when six women spun around the bars in perfect sync.
The music in the show was also one of my favorite parts. The entirely female band created a sense of “girl power.” The combination of electric guitars, drums, cello, tambourine, vocals and saxaphone created a truly unique blend. The most interesting aspect of the music in Cirque du Soleil performances is that none of the lyrics are in a true spoken language, but rather Cirque-gibberish, a made up language used only in their shows. Because we couldn’t understand what was being said, we could only feel the emotions or sense the attitudes each song portrayed.
Even with all the impressiveness that was Amaluna, I am just as impressed by the setup of the Big Top Tent, which takes eight days and about 85 people to set up, because it is entirely self sufficient. It’s home to the cast and crew of 120 people from seventeen nationalities, and some cast members are even kids.
Amaluna was a one of a kind experience, that will only be in Atlanta until November 30th. Be sure to experience the magic of cirque now, as they probably won’t return until 2016.