Amaluna, finding balance in a world of creativity and destruction
Annually my complex dreams of running away and joining the circus are tamed by the eccentric and energizing performances by Cirque Du Soleil. I dream, I reconcile my emotions about my choices to attend college for theater instead (glad I did, I’m afraid of heights) and then marvel at the amazing worldly talents that bring us under the grand tents of Cirque. Funny enough, the narrative, whether it be straight forward or complex and intersectional, is always reflective of the human condition, the endurance of the human body, the psychology of laughter and the awe of suspense. There is a fined tune machine here that knows what it is, and we come to explore, indulge and run away with it.
Yet, Amaluna, Cirque’s newest adventure brings something different. As an artist, professor and researcher now of psychology and health, I noticed something altogether different here. The performance narrative, albeit strung together with a young love romance, wasn’t simply about love and happy endings. It was about the ideas of creativity and destruction. The world is complex with relationships to ourselves, our pets and our identity. Most importantly, in today’s American landscape, we enter a world of female identified bodies, exhibiting community, strength and and resilience. From the moment the show started, to the moment it ended, I consistently marveled at the narrative of our intersections as people. My mother in-law sitting next to me stated on the way home, that she was happy to have seen women dominating the cast, and felt connected to the story. I too agreed, as a queer man, something felt both thrilling and different about this production. It was that the circus tricks, the world, the lighting were complementary to the narrative of our shared experience outside of the usual equation.
There was no strict villain, but complex intersections of identity, confusion and jealousy. Without spoiling the plot, be careful of your pets and your new love interest.
The standout performance was by Balance Goddess, Lili Ciao. Her performance, a newer trick to grace the stages from Cirque was breathtaking. With each movement of her body, we collectively held our breath, knowing that no bodies were at stake… it was a balance act, but we knew so much was held in that moment, of creating beauty out of a bundle of sticks… of sharing in our awe herself. Then, masterfully, watching the creation of balance in the making juxtaposed by a smile and swift dance of destruction. It was metaphorical, it was magical. It was life. We felt a sense of ambiguous loss as an audience as she destroyed the beauty she creates, yet smiles and thanks us for sharing in that moment, because isn’t that what it’s all about? Presence? Just being present with one another. All good things come to an end. Life, in a moment. A beautiful metaphor well received by the audience.
I look at my husband, family, friends and fellow audiences and smiled. We were there, living for one moment. There is no price that can make up for this shared experience of grace. But there are tickets available, and you should go. Or better yet, gift it to friends and family if you can’t. We all deserve to sit in the human experience, listen, laugh and cry. Words aren’t needed. We all understand the balancing act that is life.
Amaluna is Under the Big Top in Oaks at The Greater Philadelphia Expo until August 25th. Grab your tickets for here!