Quote of the Day: ‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. opening lines from Clement C. Moore’s famous poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas
We were excited to get the media invite to see ‘Twas the Night Before… Cirque du Soleil, which is on tour with a stop in Minneapolis, MN through Dec. 3, 2023. They are performing at the Northrup auditorium on the University of MN Twin Cities campus. I recommend that you get to campus early as parking is tight. They offer a link to prepay/reserve parking in a nearby ramp, which I recommend. Also, they have several good restaurants nearby and in Dinky Town. We ate at a family favorite, Shuang Cheng, Chinese restaurant.
My friend Kyara, a college student studying ASL at Central Lakes College, accompanied me to this performance. Here’s what she had to say about the experience.
“The Thrills and Chills at Cirque Du Soleil”
by Kyara Topp
November 24, 2023, Cirque Du Soleil was performing “‘Twas the Night Before…” at the Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis, MN. It is based on a classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore, and directed by Director James Hadley who is a 25 year veteran of circus productions and live theater. This show is also Cirque Du Soleil’s first holiday show. The story line is about a dad, trying to relive holiday traditions. When his daughter is no longer interested in listening to him read the classic Christmas story, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, that’s when everything changes.
The stage bursts to life with lights, music and dancing. As the story unfolds, acrobatics join the story line. It has you on the edge of your seat, gripping the arm rests and holding your breath all at once. The music is like classical music meets dubstep. The story execution is like “The Nutcracker” meets “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. As an audience member, it feels like your adrenaline matches the performers adrenaline. This performance really helped me to feel the holiday spirit. I felt like a kid as I dropped my jaw and took in every second of the show, not ever wanting to look away. The strength, power and trust put into this performance is unmatched.
As someone who is studying to become an American Sign Language interpreter, I would say this show is Deaf friendly. There is minimal speaking/narration and it really is a visual show. The music is loud enough, and the bass is strong enough, that you can feel the vibration of the music. In the soft chairs, in the floor, or even if you are holding your jacket in your hands, which I was, you can feel the beat. The music and choreography match so well, in fact, that you can see what the music is doing while they are performing.
The show runs approximately 80 minutes, no intermission, and is appropriate for all ages. The ensemble dancers do a great job of engaging the audience, encouraging applause, and pulling our attention in the right direction. The choreography is dynamic and precise, so fun to watch.
The acrobatics are spectacular, with dizzying twists and turns. Many performers hang from the ceiling by canvas straps, making it look effortless. Even though, we all know we couldn’t do any of those stunts from the safety of the floor and thick mats!
The performance includes hundreds of lights carefully coordinated to the music and moves. When the woman performs the “Hair Suspension,” (yes, she’s suspended by her own hair!), she looks like a fairy, carrying a light. At one point she holds it out, and the backdrop lights up like hundreds of stars. (Fun fact: Our Hair Suspension artist performs approx. 100 turns in her performance. Her hair can withstand 250 lbs. of pressure, and she spins as fast as 7x per second!)
You can look up the virtual program guide on the ‘Twas the Night Before sight, but here’s a couple more fun facts.
There are 16 men and 10 women in each cast of ‘Twas the Night Before…, which is much fewer than some of our larger touring or resident productions.
Despite the smaller cast, we’re proud to have performers representing 14 different countries!
‘Twas the Night Before… Cirque du Soleil is magical. I loved the holiday theme, the father-daughter relationship, the spectacular acts, the music, surprises, and overall good cheer of this performance. Thank you Hennepin Theatre Trust for including me, and Kyara, in the media invites. We had a wonderful time at this performance!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Have you seen any Cirque performances? What acts inspire, or wow, you the most?