“Cirque du Soleil: Crystal,” the innovative fusion of circus acrobatics and extreme ice skating, opened at Windsor’s WFCU Centre last night, marking its second visit since its mesmerizing debut in 2018. This spectacular show, blending the ethereal realms of ice and sky, runs for three more performances until December 3rd. Despite a dishearteningly sparse crowd on opening night, “Crystal” remains a captivating and relevant performance, its professional and exciting essence undiminished.
The narrative heart of “Crystal” revolves around its namesake main character, a young girl on a quest for self-discovery. Crystal’s journey, portrayed on a stunning ice stage, is a metaphor for the universal search for identity and purpose. This visit to Windsor enhances the storytelling with even more refined performances, proving that “Crystal” is just as enthralling, if not more, the second time around.
“Crystal,” like all Cirque du Soleil productions, is steeped in the rich cultural tapestry of Quebec, Canada’s bastion of French heritage. This distinct Quebecois essence is woven into every facet of the show, from the vibrant performances to the immersive atmosphere. Attending a Cirque du Soleil performance, especially “Crystal,” is akin to taking a sensory journey to La belle province where the French-Canadian spirit is alive and thriving.
The Francophone vibrancy of Cirque du Soleil is most apparent in the performance of the clowns. They are the heart and soul of the show, embodying the playful and whimsical spirit of Quebec’s artistic traditions. Their humor is a unique blend of physical comedy and quiet and quaint visual linguistic wit, often subtly sprinkled with French cultural references. This not only adds an authentic touch to the performance but also transports the audience to the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec or historic Montreal, where laughter and merriment fill the air. The clown in “Crystal,” with his captivating antics, snowballs and charming interactions, serves as an ambassador of this rich cultural heritage, inviting audiences into a world where joy and creativity know no bounds.
The fusion of ice skating and acrobatics in “Crystal” is noteworthy. Cirque du Soleil’s first ice experience pushes the boundaries of performance art, marrying the grace of figure skating with the thrill of extreme skating and traditional circus acts. The blend of these elements creates a dynamic and visually arresting experience that constantly challenges and delights the audience. And it also manages to fusion together into something uniquely Canadian.
The music, a mix of live and recorded tracks, includes remastered pop songs and original compositions. The inclusion of pieces like Sia’s “Chandelier” and Beyonce’s “Halo” infuses the show with a contemporary vibe, while accordion and violin tunes add a touch of Quebecois soul. The soundtrack reflects the show’s theme of exploring and embracing the new while honoring the past. Chandelier, specifically, was beautifully choreographed, giving the song and special power beyond its original meaning.
The set design, featuring a mock ice castle, enhances the dreamlike quality of the show. The responsive video projections on the ice are particularly enchanting, creating ephemeral art that complements the skaters’ movements.
“Cirque du Soleil: Crystal” is more than a show; it’s a celebration of creativity, resilience, and the joy of discovery. Its return to Windsor is a reminder of the ever-evolving nature of art and the enduring appeal of storytelling that resonates with audiences across generations.
As “Crystal” completes its captivating performances at Windsor’s WFCU Centre, with shows running until December 3rd, it reaffirms its status as an unmissable experience. This unique blend of acrobatics and ice-skating, enriched with the essence of Quebecois culture and Canadian identity, is a remarkable spectacle that continues to enchant audiences. Each performance is a reminder of Quebec’s unique charm and the universal appeal of its artistic expressions.
Remember, as Crystal shows us, sometimes to find your footing, you have to be willing to skate on thin ice.
Tickets for the remaining shows are available on the WFCU Centre website.