CULTURE

Cirque du Soleil coming with spectacular ?Alegria?

It has been deemed the Greek capital?s most anticipated artistic event this autumn. Over 14 days running from September 3-16, Cirque du Soleil (or Circus of the Sun) will be in Athens performing at the Olympic Stadium?s Indoor Basketball Arena, with a production that promises to transport local audiences into realms far beyond the crisis.

The spectacular show, ?Alegria,? is a family-friendly production that is appropriate for all age groups while at the same time managing to maintain the high aesthetic quality for which the troupe is known.

?Alegria? is an amalgamation of various genres including circus theater, mime, dance, music, conjuring, clowning, acrobatics and gymnastics. As its name suggests — ?alegria? means joy in Spanish — it is an uplifting show, and the set comprises a gigantic dome of columns and railings where odd fairy-tale figures including nymphs, courtiers and angels startle and fascinate in scenes reminiscent of a baroque costume party.

Starting as a team of 20 street performers in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is today one of the world?s largest cultural companies. It originated in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town in the Canadian province of Quebec, in the early 1980s, with a gang of colorful figures roaming the streets wearing stilts while juggling, dancing, playing music and fire eating. Les Echassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (the Stiltwalkers of Baie-Saint-Paul) sparked a significant amount of interest within the local community and caught the attention of Guy Laliberte, the founder of what was to become Cirque du Soleil.

In 1984, when Quebec celebrated the 450th anniversary of Canada?s discovery by Jacques Cartier, Laliberte managed to convince the organizers of the anniversary celebrations to let his newly formed Cirque du Soleil troupe take part. Since that pivotal day, the circus has grown to employ over 4,000 people from over 40 countries, playing to an audience of 9,000 people a night in Las Vegas alone.

Cirque du Soleil, brought to Athens by the Lavris booking agency, will be performing from September 3-16 at the Olympic Stadium?s Indoor Basketball Arena in the northern suburb of Maroussi (Irini ISAP station). Tickets cost from 29-57 euros and can be booked in advance at www.lavris.gr. They can also be purchased from all Germanos stores and from your local post office.