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The SAP center “Shark Tank” will never be the same after the mesmerizing new event from the creators of CIRQUE DU SOLEIL. The Sharks’ ice tank was transformed into a unforgettable event called CRYSTAL - the very first ice spectacular from the creatives headed by Jean-François Bouchard and Cirque De Soleil. The company’s 42nd production is completely sold out for its run in San Jose.

Cirque du Soleil takes a step into uncharted territory, mixing their classic, gravity defying artistic performances and mix it with the element of ice. The mixture of ice and airobotics creates a majestic world that makes this new production a show that simply dazzles from start to finish. Artistic Director Fabrice Lemire says “I am the kind of guy who jumps in when you say we are heading for new territory.” Lemire is best known for directing the Cirque Icarus-themed show “Varekai.” “That is how we continue to grow as a brand, we continue to push and explore and experiment. You have to keep thinking ‘where do we go from here’ or you can become redundant. We always head for the horizon.”

Lemire continues “The marriage of the two disciplines together has been so surprising. They do not just exist side by side but they merge, - Sitting in the audience you may completely forget that there is ice. The show transcends that knowledge and you lose yourself in the story.” The San Jose production features 80 skaters under the skillful advice of legendary Canadian skater Kurt Browning. He says finding skaters who could adapt to a Cirque show was no easy task. “You can be a superb aerialist and still have two left feet on the ice.” He spent weeks finding the right athletes with the insane ambitions to take on the stunning task of bringing their creative spirit on ice.

Crystal takes place entirely on ice with a main set at the end of the rink. The show opens as she’takes place entirely on ice with a main set at the end of the rink. The show opens as Crystal falls through the ice and enters a new world full of adventures. There is nothing like the magic of a Cirque show with the colorful costumes designed by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt. The over the top choreography, accompanied by the live music, and the acrobatics fly together through the SAP Center, always staying perfectly in sync to the snow on the tank’s ice. The story is enchantingly told with Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and through songs by Looking Glass, subtexting an amazing adventure that’s more of a journey. The dynamic show includes some amazing moments - including when the title character enters the rink in a Sharks’ top, and the crowd roars with approval.

At times the audience is taken back to an underwater world where images of Crystal's adventure flashes across an icy castle. A skater descends from the sky taking the audience from reality into her imagination. Volta, the last Cirque show added a BMX bike to the classic Cirque recipe. However, this show uses a skateboard with ice skates in a spectacular mosh up, blending the eye-popping acrobatics and theatricality of the fast-paced thrills of high-level skating.At times the audience is transported to an underwater world as images of Crystal's adventure flash across an icy castle used throughout the show. A skater descends from the sky taking the audience from reality and into her imagination. The last Cirque du Soleil show, Volta, added extreme BMX biking to the classic Cirque recipe. This show also uses the skateboard like ice skates in a spectacular mosh up with the idea of blending its eye-popping acrobatics and theatricality with the fast-paced thrills of high-level skating.

Crystal revisits her neighbourhood playground; which she transforms at will as she learns to flex her new powers. Skaters zoom on a frozen playground while a hockey game on the pond turns into a high-octane romp on ramps where extreme skaters do crazy flips, twists and jumps at breakneck speed, until the ice turns into a giant pinball machine, to end act one - The sold out opening night crowd was non stop applause.

The creators go to great lengths to stress that it is anything but a traditional skating no Disney fantasy here. Eye candy dance and skating takes this two hour show to electrifying moments you will never forget. The second act opens with Crystal still trapped in the underwater world of her imagination, she travels from her village to the big city. – Caught in a life-size maze of transparent panels on the ice, Crystal spots her Reflection again. There is a marvelous tap dance on skates sequence performed to the tune of Beyoncé’s Halo. She skates through the constantly shifting maze to catch up with her alter ego, and this captures the skater dreams.

Directors Sébastien Soldevila, and Shana Carroll keep the show moving non stop, “The idea behind this was to use the ice as an element of performance, - It’s not a skating show,” said Soldevila. “It’s an ice show. It’s a mix between skating and acrobatics and we tried not to compromise one or the other. We tried to take the best parts of acrobatic circus and the best parts of skating, do you realize the canvas we have? Don’t think about what was done. Think about what we can do.”

The 42nd Cirque production really blends the two disciplines. Circus acts like swinging trapeze, aerial straps and hand-to-hand are mixed and matched with different forms of skating, including synchro & freestyle. The skaters had to learn circus skills and many of their company performers had to learn how to skate. A task they all perfected and are as perfect as any Olympic ice skaters we have ever seen. The company uses the entire length of the Shark ice stage and we are guided through every moment of Crystal. An integral part of the storytelling is the projections and motion tracking that sizzles every element of magic to Crystal's new world. We are wowed by brilliant ice magic and the antics of a wonderful cast of performers including a friendly clown, who is Crystal's imaginary friend.

The music is performed live, carrying the show to delightful perfection. The musicians glide onto the ice with instruments on skates zooming around the arena enchanting the crowd with their music. The popular covers of today's hits help to move the story along, songs from Sia, Beyoncé and U2, and many others sung by Quebec artists. Crystal is a masterpiece, a beautiful combination of acrobatics and skating that is perfectly executed by a cast of disciplined performers. No wonder this sold out just after opening last week. It is sure to return to the Bay Area soon, and I suggest you line up and make sure to experience this new era of CIRQUE DU SOLEIL.



Creative Guide Jean-François Bouchard,

Directed by Sébastien Soldevila, and Shana Carroll.

Artistic Director Fabrice Lemire, Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt

Must Close -April 1

SOLD OUT BUT SOME SEATS Remain at Box Office Day of Show

SAP Center, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose

Tickets: $56-$160 (subject to change);

Photo’s by Matt Beard

Interviews courtesy of KAREN D'SOUZA | | Bay Area News Group


Crystal – Nobahar Dadui (Solo Figure skater - Canada)

Reflection – Madeline Stammen (Solo Figure skater - USA)


Band leader & keyboards – Steven Bach (USA)

Violin – Stepan Grytsay (Ukraine)

Wind Instruments and Guitar – Camilo Motta (Spain)


Andrew Price (Flyer - UK), Anne-Marie Godin (Flyer - Canada), Danica Gagnon-Plamondon (Swinging Trapeze - Canada), Emily McCarthy (Hand to trapeze - UK), Emma Stones (Flyer - Canada), Harley McLeish (Porter - Australia), Isis Clegg-Vinell (Flyer - UK), Jack Atherton (Hand to hand trapeze - UK), Jérôme Sordillon (Straps - France), Jorge Petit (Juggler - Chile), Kai Johnson-Peady (Flyer - Australia), Lucas Boutin (Flyer - France), Nathan Price (Porter - UK), Valeriy Panov (Flyer - Ukraine), Will Farlow (Flyer - USA), Jason Davenport (Porter – USA), Ochir Lakhagva (Chair stacking – Mongolia)


Solo, freelance & extremes

Dean Moriarity (Extreme skater - Canada), Tristan Dugerdil (Extreme skater – France) Kevin Lapierre (Extreme skater - Canada), Lisa Mochizuki (Solo Figure skater - Japan), Martin Barrau (Extreme skater - France), Zabato Bebe (Solo Figure skater - Austria), Shawn Sawyer (Solo Figure skater - Canada), Scott Smith (Solo Figure skater – USA), Mary Siegel (Solo Figure Skater – USA), Julien Dulière (Freestyle Skater – France)


Andy Buchanan (Pair Skater - Canada), Silja Dos Reis (Pair skater - France), Stuart Widdall (Pair skater - UK), Dmitry Semykin (Pair Figure skater - Russia), Robin Johnstone (Pair Skater – Canada)

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