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by Audria Larsen |

takes world class talent and pairs it with the distinctive artistry of captivating costumes, fantastical set designs and fresh concepts. “I think the great thing about Cirque is

Cirque, Nouveau T

HE MAGIC OF CIRQUE du Soleil lies not in illusion, but in the dazzling feats of tangible, physical achievement. Firmly residing in the up- per echelon of entertainment, Cirque

Mischief making clowns are included as well as Little Buddha, brandishing a suitable paunch. Medusa also makes an appearance but,

instead of a head full of writhing snakes, she has eight gorgeous women contorting and ex- ecuting graceful balancing acts, McKeon said. Other acts include the aerial hoop, or

that every time we set out to do a show, we set out to reinvent ourselves. People can expect to see something quite different with Dralion,” said Sean McKeon, artistic director of Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion. Beyond creating an impressive spectacle,

the Cirque team manages to constantly evolve and explore new worlds of entertainment, evidenced by the 21 different shows presented worldwide. “I think one of the great things is that

when [people] come into a cirque show, even of they’ve seen a show before, to come with an open mind. Some say, ‘Wow, that is great,’ others say, ‘Wow, that really touched me,’” McKeon said. Dralion, created in 1999, was reincarnated

this year when the show moved beyond the big top and was adapted to large arenas. In an East-meets-West concept, Dralion is a fusion between a dragon and a lion. “The dragon and lion fight together,”

McKeon said. “One of the messages of the show is the harmony and peace.” Emphasizing a “perpetual quest for

harmony between humankind and nature,” Dralion includes a human embodiment of the elements. As air, Azala is in clad in blue, repre- senting water, Oceane wears verdant hues, Gaya is adorned with ochre tones as earth and Yao is draped in vermillion fabric, embodying fire.

Other Eclectic Events | by Audria Larsen

Holiday Traditions Around the World Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids Nov. 30-Jan. 9, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., (616) 957-1580

Explore cultural holiday celebrations from across the globe with 40+ international displays amidst a back- drop of 300,000 lights and the sounds of caroling. The Vietnamese Ancestral Altar used to celebrate the Lunar New Year – Tet Nguyen Dan – is a new feature. Enjoy displays that honor the Muslim celebration, Eid ul-Fitr, The Chinese New Year and the “illumination traditions” hailing from the Philippines known as Parols. Also, experience the traditional delights of horse-drawn carriage rides.


Rockin’ Barbershop Harmony Festival Frauenthal Theater of the Arts, Muskegon Nov. 6, 7 p.m.; $16, (231) 755-3088

Get out your straw hats, the annual Rockin’ Barbershop Harmony Festival serenades again. Hosted by the Muskegon Shoreline Barbershop Chorus, this year’s fes- tival features 250 vocal students, all singing in harmony and paying homage to the classic art of the Barbershop Quartet. Vocal seminars run 8 a.m.-5 p.m., followed by the melodic show. Enjoy a myriad of sounds from the Girl Choir, the Boy Choir, and of course, the Quartets.

Splendid Threads, Secret Messages:

The Language of Japanese Kimonos Muskegon Museum of Art Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; $5, (231) 720-2570

More than a garment, kimonos are works of art, expressing Japanese culture and the history of personal adornment. The gems on display from a private Michigan collection showcase a myriad of kimonos in vibrant, lush colors. Learn the language and secret symbols of Japanese kimonos at this enlightening and enlivening exhibit. Enjoy cultural activities and take advantage of guided tours along with free admission on select dates.

lyra, and the aerial pas de deux which is a challenging duo act performed on silks (sus- pended fabric) featuring impressive strength and flexibility. Other captivating acts include hand-

balancing, juggling, and the trampoline. Surprisingly, there is even a skipping rope act – done Cirque-style, of course – featuring acrobatic flips and human pyramids.

“What I think I like most about the show

is the diversity of what we have onstage,” McKeon said. “Culturally it is very different [and] we bring together a league of nations [with] twelve different nationalities.” Thus, Dralion is a truly harmonious expe- rience culturally and artistically. n

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: DRALION Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids Jan. 12-16, show times at 1, 3:30, 5 and 7:30 p.m. $37.50-$102.50, (616) 742-6600


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