Saturday, July 26, 2014

Amaluna Moves to Washington, D.C. - Re-CALI-brating the White Rhino's Cirque de Soleil Experience

Viktor Kee as Cali
Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna

During the past three weeks, while the cast and crew of Amaluna have taken a richly deserved vacation, the eponymous and mysterious island has been making a silent and invisible voyage. The Island of Amaluna has been drifting slowing down the Atlantic, making headway into the Chesapeake Bay, and up the slowly moving waters of the Potomac River to find temporary mooring at National Harbor.  Washington area residents are strongly advised to grab tickets to this wonderful spectacle, which I reviewed a few weeks ago.

White Rhino Report Review of Amaluna

Before Amaluna and its residents decamped from Boston to our nation's Capital, I made a return visit.  I knew that amid the spectacle and story, I had not been able to take in and fully appreciate all of the acts and their nuanced blend of artistry and athleticism.  So I returned with two friends to see the show once again.  At the end of the show, I turned to my friends and asked, "What images and acts from the show stand out in your mind?"  The answer was swift: "Cali!" 

The character of Cali is a half man - half beast creature who serves as a sometime protector and sometime pursuer of the lovely Miranda, whose Coming of Age story is at the heart of the narrative of Amaluna. Cali is played with great aplomb by Ukrainian born circus superstar, Viktor Kee.  Cali not only prowls around the stage/island with tail-flicking panache, he also juggles impressively.

Viktor Kee as Cali
Juggles Fire
Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna

This circus veteran's career really took off in 1994, when Viktor won the Silver Medal and the prestigious Raspini Award at the 17th International Circus Festival "Cirque de Demain" in Paris.

In 2003 Viktor Kee won a Silver Clown Award at the 27th International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo - widely considered the Olympics and the Oscars of the circus world.

Viktor Kee

"At first, he juggles with the delicacy of a miniaturist but then his moves grow bolder, empowered by the rhythmic pulse of the music. His body twists and turns, stretches and contorts, but with finesse, precision and power of a danseur noble. All the while, the balls orbit around him, seemingly not even glancing off his fingertips, but simply following his will as they dance in space when they're not gliding over, down and along, every path of his body.

In his uniquely avant-garde style, the balls dance around his body; in his abstract yet fluid movements, the balls and the body merge to form a unified whole.

He moves from one to seven balls in an awe inspiring display of perfection.  Control, pacing and mastery over his body and props hypnotizes the entire audience."

It was wondrous and appropriate that my friends had identified Cali and Viktor Kee as the highlight of the show, for I had made arrangements to meet Mr. Kee after the show.  He very graciously guided us through a backstage tour of the impressive Cirque de Soleil facilities that include practice spaces, wardrobe, make-up, props, physical therapy and massage facilities, and a spacious lounge area where the cast and crew can congregate for drinks and food.  We shared some refreshments and mingled with Vikor and several of his fellow performers.  It was the closest that the White Rhino has come to running away with the circus!

So, Washington friends, I invite you to sample the wonders of Cali and his fellow cast members while Amaluna is in residence for the next two months.  I know you are busy, but it will be worth it to find a way to "juggle" your schedule to enable you to slip away to Amaluna for a few hours of escape and entertainment.



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