Courtesy photoLara Jacobs Rigolo

Courtesy photoLara Jacobs Rigolo

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Amaluna’ has a few thrilling acts

The most thrilling stunt in Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna” is a meditative and positively mesmerizing sequence in which the Balance Goddess erects a unique and wild structure made of what looks like large palm fronds.

Using her feet, Lara Jacobs Rigolo builds her creation, a seemingly large animal skeleton of sorts, keeping the audience spellbound, and quiet, for a luxurious length of time. It’s a seemingly revolutionary act in today’s world filled with multitasking and 15-second attention spans.

The rest of “Amaluna” — Cirque’s 32nd production since 1984, now in The City in the big tent near AT&T Park — is a hit-and-miss affair.

As is often the case in Cirque shows, the story of an island girl’s coming of age, supposedly reminiscent of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” is difficult to decipher, as is a theme of female empowerment.

Yet many of the women in the foreground of the show, directed by Diane Paulus of Broadway renown, kick booty. For example, the all-female band — cellist-vocalist Julie McInness, Prince-inspired guitarists Rachael Wood and Angie Swan, drummer Didi Negron, bassist Teresa Morini, singer Jennifer Aubrey and percussionist Mireille Marchal — excels at varied musical styles.

Miranda, who experiences young love, is portrayed by contortionist and balance artist Iulia Mykhailova, who also goes for a dip in a large bowl of water. Her paramour, Evgeny Kurkin, races up a pole and displays mind-blowing acts of upper-arm strength.

Balancing “lizards” on Miranda’s island of origin are an exhilarating act, as well as athletic, agile women on uneven bars and men on teeterboards. Cali, a half-human, half-lizard character, is confusing; however, juggler Viktor Kee is adept at his trade.

Yet too much time is spent on aerial ballet and a pair of clowns whose irrelevant story really slows down proceedings.

Meanwhile, “women power” themes come through sporadically, with the titular Moon Goddess; Leysan Gayazova, on an aerial hoop; and the fast-moving aerial straps act, Valkyries, in which Renee Koehler, Kylee Maupoux and Andréanne Nadeau soar above the crowd — thrilling!

Of course, production values are up to Cirque’s amazing standards, and with its one-of-a-kind costumes conjuring fantastic characters and creatures, “Amaluna” is often a visual treat.

However, as a story of women making a statement and their way in the world, it doesn’t compare to designer-choreographer Kate Mitchell’s “Fashioning Women,” a terrific art and fashion event last Saturday at SOMArts Cultural Center in which Bay Area women (and a few hearty men) danced, witnessed cutting-edge couture (with commentary) and enjoyed each other’s company.

REVIEW

Amaluna

Presented by Cirque du Soleil

Where: Big Top, Third Street and Terry A. Francois Boulevard, S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31; closes Jan. 12

Tickets: $55 to $270

Contact: www.cirquedusoleil.comAmalunaartsCirque du Soleil ]Diane Paulus

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Youth activists with the Sunrise Movement march along a rural road during their two-week trek from Paradise to San Francisco to call attention to an increase in deadly wildfires as a result of climate change on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Brooke Anderson)
Weeks-long climate march culminates on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lola’s alarm goes off most mornings before dawn. The 17-year-old high school… Continue reading

Most Read