Dralion | Stage review

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  • Photograph: Daniel Desmarais

    The four elements—water, earth, fire and air—take on human forms in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion.

  • Photograph: Daniel Desmarais

  • Photograph: courtesy Cirque du Soleil Inc.

    Vladik Miagkostupov performs a hybrid of gymnastics and juggling in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion.

Photograph: Daniel Desmarais

The four elements—water, earth, fire and air—take on human forms in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion.

When Cirque du Soleil is in town, anything’s possible. What else extends the appeal of circuses, dragons and clowns to 100 million audience members worldwide?


Such is the phenomenal power of shows like Cirque’s Dralion, performing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont this week before heading to the United Center in Chicago June 27 through July 1. With a theme of unification, the show’s portmanteau title of “dragon” and “lion” takes root in Eastern and Western symbols and the never-ending quest for harmony between the two cultures.


The two-and-a-half-hour show revolves around the four elements—water, fire, earth and air—as they share the stage over the course of the night, displaying their unique character traits: Earth (a.k.a., Gaya) stomps the floor, undulates her body and never loses her incredible verve. Fire (Yao) mesmerizes the audience with an incandescent costume and commanding force.


Later on, a juggler manipulates eight balls at once, 13 performers dive through stacks of hoops and a pyramid of six people jump rope. A few comedic sketches featuring three clowns—Giovanni, Vincent and Alberti—provide a nice interlude between pieces. Reminiscent of the Three Stooges, the bantering trio love to greet latecomers and fuss with fans (at one point, an audience member gets contorted into a variety of impossible positions). Younger viewers are especially charmed with the bumbling misfits, but there’s no shortage of adult laughter, as one skit eventually leads to a dispute over Alberti’s hairpiece.


Like most Cirque du Soleil performances, this one quenches the audience’s thirst for “wow” moments, moments that one comes to expect from shows like Dralion. It’s all part of a larger message though, one that intends to bring people together, having some fun along the way.




Dralion continues through Sun 24 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont before coming to Chicago June 27–July 1.



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