In the weeks leading up to Dralion’s appearance at the Richmond Coliseum, nearly a dozen friends mentioned it to me. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian entertainment company that puts on modern circuses around the world. I love the brilliant costumes and makeup, the inventive set designs, the live music, the hilarious clowns, the extraordinary abilities of the performers, and the beauty of the perfect human form. Before Dralion, my husband and I had seen eight shows in seven cities.
What my friends didn’t know is that I’ve watched the tour dates for Dralion for years, anxiously awaiting its return to the USA after a long stint in Europe, Asia and Australia (2004-2009). So by the time everyone else heard about the Richmond show, I had purchased my tickets months ago. This was my first Cirque in RVA, and according to the Cirque du Soleil website, the only real Cirque that’s ever been to the city. (Delirium – a short-lived, uninspired Cirque lite – doesn’t count.)
Dralion caught my attention years ago because of its traditional Chinese circus elements, like a traveling version of Chinese New Year. The name comes from the combination of “dragon,” representing the East, and “lion,” representing the West. I imagined bright red costumes, whimsical fringed dragons and glowing Chinese lanterns. Dralion delivered. The four-legged dragons (or dralions) spun atop giant balls, and crimson-clad men performed with giant decorated bamboo poles that glowed like paper lanterns. The Aerial Pas de Deux (that’s when two people soar through the air on giant silk ribbons while demonstrating amazing acts of flexibility and strength) was flawless. The girls with Diabalos (a juggling prop consisting of a giant spool and a string tied between two sticks) were fun, and the clowns got lots of laughs. My husband and I enjoyed an added bonus when we ran into the jump rope team after the show as they headed toward their bus.
Dralion can’t compare to the resident shows in cities like Las Vegas or the touring shows under the Grand Chapiteau, the Cirque’s own blue and yellow big top tents. Arena shows are typically older Cirques that have been modified from their original versions to fit the parameters of stadium venues. But Dralion was an entertaining arena show and a great way to spend a date night in my own hometown.
Next up, it’s time for Richmond to bring one of the truly spectacular Grand Chapiteau shows to the city. Brown’s Island would be a perfect setting, and if that doesn’t work, the Richmond Raceway Complex could easily accommodate the production. How about it RVA? I want to see those blue and yellow tents color our skyline…the sooner the better!
Dralion, Cirque du Soleil
August 8-12, 2012
Carla Murray is Assistant Director of Marketing & PR for Maymont. She is a Richmond native and a Virginia Commonwealth University graduate. She lives in New Kent with her husband, two daughters, a dog, a cat and a turtle. Some of her favorite activities include letterboxing, long walks, Cirque du Soleil shows, wine tastings, reading novels, and spending time with family and friends.